New car market sees monthly decline
05 June 2019
Author: Sean Keywood
UK new car registrations were down by 4.6% year-on-year in May, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The month's data includes a 3% decline in fleet registrations, although this was a stronger showing than the private sector, which was down by 5%.
Business sales - to firms with fewer than 25 vehicles - were down by 29%, although these make up only 2.1% of the overall market.
The continued decline in diesel car sales showing no signs of ending, as these were down by 18.3% - the 26th consecutive monthly drop.
The SMMT puts this down to ongoing anti-diesel sentiment and the imminent widespread adoption of low emission zones, although it says the latest diesel cars are cleaner than ever and will not face charges or restrictions anywhere in the UK.
There was a 1% increase in petrol car registrations, which made up more than 65% of the overall market. Meanwhile demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles was up by 11.7%, taking them to a 6.6% market share.
Within the latter sector, there was a 34.6% increase in conventional hybrid registrations, an 81.1% increase in pure electric car registrations (though these still only account for 1.1% of the overall market), but a 40.6% drop in plug-in hybrid registrations.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "Confusing policy messages and changes to incentives continue to affect consumer and business confidence, causing drivers to keep hold of their older, more polluting vehicles for longer.
"New cars are safer, cleaner and more advanced than ever and, with sophisticated safety, efficiency and comfort features as well as a host of attractive deals on offer, there has never been a better time to invest in a new car."
Perennial market leader the Ford Fiesta was again the UK's best selling car in May with 6,710 registrations, ahead of the second-placed Ford Focus with 5,556.
The Volkswagen Golf was the third most popular model with 4,655 registrations, and the top five was completed by the Vauxhall Corsa (3,993) and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class (3,735).