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UK new car sales fall again

Date: 04 July 2019   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Demand for new cars in the UK fell in June for the fourth month in a row, with year-on-year registrations down by 4.9%, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 

The fleet sector did however slightly outperform the overall market, with a 2.5% decline, compared with a 4.8% fall in private registrations. 

Business sales - to fleets with fewer than 25 vehicles - were down by 37.1%, though these represent a tiny fraction of the market. 

In terms of fuel mix, June saw a fall in alternatively-fuelled vehicle registrations for the first time in 26 months, which the SMMT blamed chiefly on a 50.4% decline in plug-in hybrid registrations, with hybrid sales also down by 4.7%.

Pure electric sales were up by 61.7%, moving ahead of plug-in hybrids, but still only took a 1.1% share of the overall new car market.

Once again diesel registrations took a dive, down by 20.5%, while there was a 3% rise in petrol car sales. 

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "Another month of decline is worrying but the fact that sales of alternatively-fuelled cars are going into reverse is a grave concern. 

"Manufacturers have invested billions to bring these vehicles to market but their efforts are now being undermined by confusing policies and the premature removal of purchase incentives.

"If we are to see widespread uptake of these vehicles, which are an essential part of a smooth transition to zero emission transport, we need world-class, long-term incentives and substantial investment in infrastructure.

"Fleet renewal remains the quickest way to address environmental concerns today and consumers should have the confidence - and support - to choose the new car that best meets their driving needs, whatever the technology, secure in the knowledge that it is safer and cleaner than ever before."