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Double-digit decline for UK car market in November

Date: 06 December 2017

The UK new car market declined for an eighth consecutive month in November, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A total of 163,541 vehicles were registered during the month, down 11.2% year-on-year, which the SMMT claims is driven by a significant fall in diesel demand.

Business, fleet and private registrations all fell in the month, down 33.6%, 14.4% and 5.1% respectively. Registrations fell across all body types except specialist sports, which grew by 6.7%, while the biggest declines were seen in the executive and mini segments, which decreased 22.2% and 19.8% respectively.

The alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) sector continued to make significant gains, growing 33.1%, while petrol cars also saw a gain of 5.0%. However, these increases did not offset the heavy 30.6% drop in diesel registrations. The decline follows months of confusion and speculation about the government's air quality plans and its policies towards diesel cars.

Overall, registrations declined by 5.0% to December, with 2,388,144 cars taking to British roads so far this year.

"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," said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. "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."