Newly released figures show that new cars sales in the UK has fallen again in November, making this the 8th month in a row that the number of sales has declined. The fall is being put down to the reduced demand for diesel, with the industry seeing 30% less consumers looking to purchase diesel vehicles.
Total sales across the motor industry fell by a massive 11.2% last month alone, with the total number of sales for November being just over 163,000. The industry is on course for the worst figures it’s seen for 6 years. New car sales this year are currently down by 5% from last year at £2.39 million.
The decline is mostly due to a reduced demand for diesel vehicles, which have seen a slump of 30% in November. Petrol car sales rose by 5% and electric and hybrid vehicles saw an increase in sales of 33%. Private registrations fell by 5.1%, but the number of business purchases saw the biggest hit with new registrations being down by a total of 33.6%.
New government regulations to discourage the use of diesel cars seem to be having an impact on consumers. Taxes are due to rise next year for private owners and companies, affecting millions of drivers, as well as new parking surcharges and tolls in some UK towns. No increase in fuel duty on diesel vehicles has been announced by the government.
According to Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the industry trade body “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.”
Chris Bosworth, the director of strategy at Close Brothers Motor Finance, said the fall in sales could also be put down to uncertainty in the run up to Brexit. Consumers are thinking carefully before making large purchases. He said that “Brexit is having an obvious impact on the market as a whole as consumer confidence remains low”
The reduced sales marks the end of the growth the industry has seen in recent years. The car industry in the UK is now falling far behind the rest of the EU, who have seen an increase in their overall sales this year.