New car sales declined in March 2018 by 15.7 per cent, but diesel-engined sales continued to fall more steeply as buyers avoided oil-burners, preferring petrol and AFVs.
The headline drop for new car sales in the UK in March 2018 is a drop of 15.7 per cent, with new diesel sales dropping by a thumping 37.2 per cent. But that needs some perspective.
March 2017 was a record month for car sales in the UK as buyers rushed not only for the new plate but also to beat a change in VED. So it was a bit of a sales anomaly and, looked at in overall perspective, sales figures for March 2018 are still the fourth biggest on record. So it’s not exactly doom and gloom for the UK car industry.
Sales of petrol-engined car actually rose in March – albeit by a very modest 0.5 per cent – and sales of Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles (AFVs) also rose by a more significant 5.7 per cent, but that thumping drop in diesel-engined sales accounted for the big drop in overall sales.
Mike Hawes, SMMT CEO, said:
March’s decline is not unexpected given the huge surge in registrations in the same month last year. Despite this, the market itself is relatively high with the underlying factors in terms of consumer choice, finance availability and cost of ownership all highly competitive.
Top of the tree in terms of individual models was the Ford Fiesta, with the VW Golf a fairly distant second place. The Ford Focus dropped to fifth in the Top Ten (no doubt because a new model is imminent) just ahead of the Kuga, and Mercedes featured at eighth and ninth with the A Class and C Class.