The decline of diesel new car registrations continued unabated in May 2019 with latest data showing an 18.3 percent fall in sales.
The share of new diesel cars is now well under 30 percent, with petrol car sales now making up almost two in three new car registrations.
Diesel registrations have declined for an incredible 26 consecutive months.
Overall new car registrations were down 4.6 percent in May, which the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) blamed on the underlying economic and political instability.
“Confusing policy messages and changes to incentives continue to affect consumer and business confidence,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes, “causing drivers to keep hold of their older, more polluting vehicles for longer.”
Anti-diesel sentiment is being compounded by forthcoming low-emission zones, which is also affecting buyer confidence – despite the latest diesel being “safer and cleaner than ever before and will not face charger or restrictions anywhere in the UK”.
Battery electric new car registrations did rise a hefty 34.6 percent, but they still only comprise 1.1 percent of sales.
Alarmingly, plug-in hybrid sales plunged 40.6 percent in May, which the SMMT blamed squarely on the controversial removal of purchase incentives for PHEVs.
In the overall car brand rankings, it was a Ford one-two, with the Fiesta in a clear lead at the top of the best-sellers list.
Volkswagen had three cars in the top 10 list, while a strong performance by the Mercedes A-Class saw it jump ahead of the Nissan Qashqai to become Britain’s fifth best-selling car so far in 2019.
May 2019 top 10 best-selling cars
1: Ford Fiesta
2: Ford Focus
3: Volkswagen Golf
4: Vauxhall Corsa
5: Mercedes-Benz A-Class
6: Nissan Qashqai
7: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
8: Nissan Juke
9: Volkswagen Polo
10: Volkswagen Tiguan