UK car demand tumbles by 9.3% amid Brexit uncertainty

UK car demand tumbles by 9.3% amid Brexit uncertainty

Fourth consecutive month of decreasing new car sales is attributed to economic conditions

New car sales fell by 9.3% in July, the fourth consecutive month where demand has decreased.

Brexit and the economic uncertainty it has caused is labelled as the main cause for the continued slump, which has seen sales fall to 161,997 – a contrast to the record-breaking growth seen in the year’s first three months.

Demand fell across business, fleet and private buyers by -23.8%, -10.1% and -6.8% respectively. Conversely, dual purpose and sports cars sales rose by 7.3% and 10.3% respectively, but volumes were comparatively tiny.

Diesel sales fell to 69,157 in July, close to 17,000 less than sales were in the same month of 2016, suggesting consumers are being affected by announcements for diesel taxes, despite the fact such policies won’t affect the latest Euro6 models.

The same comparison for petrol shows a smaller drop of close to 3,000 units, with numbers down to 83,969 for July.

One area of the market that has seen continued growth is alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), which soared in sales by 64.9%. AVFs also grew their market share, but it still only accounted for 5.5% of overall sales, meaning the growth was far from offsetting the slump in petrol and diesel cars.

Nevertheless, 8,871 new AVFs were driven off forecourts – a record high.

Year to date sales figures stand at 1,563,808, which compares to 1,599,159 at this point in 2016.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes said “The fall in consumer and business confidence is having a knock on effect on demand in the new car market and government must act quickly to provide concrete plans regarding Brexit.

“While it’s encouraging to see record achievements for alternatively fuelled vehicles, consumers considering other fuel types will have undoubtedly been affected by the uncertainty surrounding the government’s clean air plans.  It is important to remember that there are no plans to charge drivers using the latest Euro 6 models and no proposed bans for conventional petrol and diesel vehicles for some 23 years.

“The lower demand in recent months will inevitably mean competition from manufacturers will intensify and it will be a good opportunity for consumers to get a great deal on their next car, with many exciting new models launched in the coming months.”

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Source: Autocar Online

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