Monthly figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that the UK car market declined by more than 11% in November.
One of the largest and most influential trade associations in the motor industry, SMMT’s figures show a decline that marks the eighth successive month where the demand for cars has contracted.
According to the latest figures, 163,541 vehicles were registered last month, which is a massive 11.2% less than the corresponding year in 2016.
The biggest reason given for this fall is a fall – described as “significant” – in the demand for diesel.
The confusion surrounding the government’s policies towards diesel cars has resulted in a major drop in diesel registrations.
Confusion and speculation in particular surrounds the air quality plans of the government as well as the policies towards diesel cars. Overall, it has led to a 30.6% decline in diesel registrations, which could not be offset by the 5% gain in petrol vehicles.
Elsewhere, the news was better in the Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles (AFV) sector, which made gains of 33.1%.
One of the biggest areas of decline was around business registrations, which was down more than a third (33.6%) in comparison with November 2016.
Business registrations wasn’t the only sector of decline in November; private registrations dropped by more than 5% and fleet saw a decrease of 14.4%.
Overall, in the 11 months of 2017, new vehicle registration stands at 2,388,144, which is 5% lower than the first 11 months of 2016.
For diesel vehicles too, there has been a fall in new registrations in this time – this year has seen 16% fewer diesel vehicles registered. The policy confusion surrounding these vehicles has no doubt been key.
Mike Hawes is the Chief Executive of SMMT. He described the government’s message as “anti-diesel.”
“An eighth month of decline in the new car market is a major concern, with falling business and consumer confidence exacerbated by ongoing anti-diesel messages from government.
“Diesel remains the right choice for many drivers, not least because of its fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions.
“The decision to tax the latest low emission diesels is a step backwards and will only discourage drivers from trading in their older, more polluting cars.
“Given fleet renewal is the fastest way to improve air quality, penalising the latest, cleanest diesels is counterproductive and will have detrimental environmental and economic consequences.”