UK new car sales drop

The UK new car market fell further in March, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

March saw 474,069 new cars driven off forecourts, a 15.7% decrease from 2017. According to the Restructuring Advisory practice of Duff & Phelps, the fall in sales was driven by a near total collapse in diesel sales, while petrol sales rose by 0.5% year on year.

Michael Bills, managing director in the Restructuring Advisory practice at Duff & Phelps, stated, ‘This March has presented the UK dealership sector with a real challenge, especially if those dealers have new stock irrespective of whether they are petrol or diesel. Year-to-date sales for new cars are down 15.7%, however, much of that fall can be attributed to bumper sales in March 2017, as drivers flooded to dealers to beat the then-new road tax system. But the devil is in the detail. Petrol sales are in fact up – albeit by 0.5% year-on-year, but it is diesel that is dragging the industry down, with a 37.2% fall in March sales, compared to a 23.5% fall in February.’

According to the SMMT, March marked the 12th consecutive month of declining new car sales and the market was down 12.4% year-to-date.