New car registrations fell 3.5 percent in June 2018 as growing demand for plug-ins and petrol cars failed to offset a massive 28.2 percent decline in diesel sales.
The latest figures mean the UK new car market is down 6.3 percent year-to-date. 234,945 new cars were registered in June, taking the running total to 1.3 million cars.
The Society of Motor Manufactures and Trader (SMMT) is relatively upbeat despite the decline in diesel, insisting they show the market is stabilising following more than a year of turbulence. Demand from private buyers is roughly equal to last year, business sales markets an 11.3 percent uptick, although large fleet sales were still down 6.4 percent.
Petrol car sales rose 12.3 percent, meaning they now comprise 61.7 percent of the new car market; diesel is down to just 31.7 percent. A 45 percent rise in alternative fuel vehicle sales means their share is up to a largest-ever 6.6 percent.
“Despite a rocky first six months for the new car market, it’s great to see demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles continue to rise,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.
“Given these cars still represent only 1 in 20 registrations, however, they cannot yet have the impact in driving down overall emissions that conventional vehicles, including diesel, continue to deliver.
“Recent government statements acknowledging the importance of petrol and diesel are encouraging. However, we now need a strategy that supports industry investment into next generation technologies and puts motorists back in the driving seat, encouraged to buy the car that best suits their needs – whatever its fuel type.”
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Top 10 best sellers – June 2018
1: Ford Fiesta
2: Volkswagen Golf
2: Vauxhall Corsa
5: Volkswagen Polo
6: Ford Focus
7: BMW 3 Series
8: Nissan Qashqai
9: Volkswagen Tiguan
10: BMW 1 Series