November new car market declined

The UK new car market declined by three per cent in November with some 158,639 units registered, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Supply delays due to implementation of the new WLTP emissions test and model replacement all combined to affect overall sales.

Reflecting recent trends, demand for petrol and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) rose 3.5 per cent and 24.6% respectively, but failed to offset a 16.7% fall for diesel cars. While fleet and private registrations fell in turn by 0.7 per cent and 6.4 per cent, business sales rose 8.6 per cent, though the latter makes up only 3.1 per cent of the market.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive,said, ‘Model and regulatory changes combined with falling consumer confidence conspired to affect supply and demand in November. The good news is that, as supply constraints ease, and new exciting models come on sale in the months ahead, buyers can look forward to a wide choice of cutting-edge petrol, diesel and electrified cars.’

Alex Buttle, director, Motorway.co.uk, also commented on the results, ‘What does this tell us about the state of the new car industry when falling sales are a standard scenario? A 3 per cent overall sales decline in any other major sector would be disastrous, but it’s business as usual for now. This is not so much a recession as a Great Depression for the whole industry.

‘Now it is faced with the biggest blow of all in a few days time if the Brexit deal on the table gets voted down. The repercussions for the car industry with a no-deal scenario are unimaginable, not just here but in Europe too.’