Figures from the Society Of Manufacturers and Motor Traders (SMMT) has revealed that the new car sales market dropped by -15.7% compared to March 2017. On the plus side, March this year was the fourth best March since 2002.
Diesel Drops Further, AFV Rises, Petrol Holds Its Ground
Unsurprisingly, given the current climate, diesel sales continue to fall. Compared to March last year, new cars sold with a diesel engine have fallen by a significant 37.2%, whereas alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) have risen by 5.7%. Petrol holds its ground with a small increase of 0.5% compared to March last year. Figures show that year-to-date the new car market has fallen by -12.4% with diesel taking the biggest hit with a decrease of -33.3%, whilst AFV and petrol have risen by 9.8% and 3.5% respectively.
Fiesta Is Still King of the Hill
Just as predictable as the decline of diesel sales, the Ford Fiesta continues to be the best selling car in the UK, both for the month of March and year-to-date with respective sales of 19,272 and 32,808. The Volkswagen Golf trails behind with 13,966 models sold in March and 21,203 models leaving forecourts YTD. Unusually, the Ford Focus is not in the top three as that has been trumped by the Nissan Qashqai, which has sold in a number of 12,018 for March and 16,914 YTD.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,“March’s decline is not unexpected given the huge surge in registrations in the same month last year. Despite this, the market itself is relatively high with the underlying factors in terms of consumer choice, finance availability and cost of ownership all highly competitive. Consumer and business confidence, however, has taken a knock in recent months and a thriving new car market is essential to the overall health of our economy.
“This means creating the right economic conditions for all types of consumers to have the confidence to buy new vehicles. All technologies, regardless of fuel type, have a role to play in helping improve air quality whilst meeting our climate change targets, so government must do more to encourage consumers to buy new vehicles rather than hang onto their older, more polluting vehicles.”