Diesel demand dramatically down in new car figures

Diesel demand dramatically down in new car figures
A “stark” 30% year-on-year decline in the number of diesel cars registered last month has been attributed to a campaign of “anti-diesel” messages from the Government.

Announcing its November figures – which point to an overall new car market downturn of 11.2% – the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said just 163,500 new cars were registered over the month.

The RAC described the figures as a “mixed bag” from an air quality perspective.

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The SMMT’s numbers confirm an eighth successive month of new car market decline.

Some 2.39 million new cars have been registered so far this year, down by 5% on the same period last year.

While demand for diesel cars has dropped by a staggering 30.6% since November 2016 – petrol cars are up 5%, and take-up of alternatively-fuelled vehicles rose by 33.1%, to secure a market share of 5.4%.

RACCars.co.uk spokesman Rod Dennis pointed to “encouraging growth” in this greener market, but said drivers still need to be offered “more incentives to switch into alternatively-fuelled vehicles to encourage swifter uptake of the very cleanest vehicles available.”

“While the modest growth in petrol sales shows that some owners may be moving from diesel to petrol, it could also be evidence that diesel drivers are choosing to hold on to their current vehicles for longer when faced with uncertainty over future diesel taxes and charges,” he added.

In last month's Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a tax hike on new diesel cars from April 1.

Diesels will be subjected to a one-band increase in the first year vehicle excise duty (VED) rate if they do not meet tougher real world emissions standards which will become compulsory from January 2020.

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Commenting on the November figures, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “An eighth month of decline in the new car market is a major concern, with falling business and consumer confidence exacerbated by ongoing anti-diesel messages from government.

“Diesel remains the right choice for many drivers, not least because of its fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions.

“The decision to tax the latest low emission diesels is a step backwards and will only discourage drivers from trading in their older, more polluting cars.

“Given fleet renewal is the fastest way to improve air quality, penalising the latest, cleanest diesels is counter-productive and will have detrimental environmental and economic consequences.”

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.