Sales of new cars down 9.3% in September 2017

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Data has now been released from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders that shows that the United Kingdom new-car market is in decline for the month of September with sales down 9.3%. This is the sixth month in succession that new sales in the car market have declined.

Private sales and business sales all suffered in September and were all down. Business vehicle sales saw a decline of 5.2%, private vehicle sales saw a fall of 8.8% with the largest fall coming in the fleet sales marketplace of 10.1%. The slower sales were cross all body types with the exception of dual-purpose which was the only body type that grew in sale size with a growth of 2.4%. Sales of superminis fell 21.2% and the biggest fall was in the luxury saloon marketplace which declined a massive 36.4%.

There was a glimmer of hope for some sectors in the marketplace with alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV’s) seeing growth of 41% for the month of September and a growth of 34.6% in the year to date with good sales figures of approximately 95,000 vehicles being sold this year. Diesels took a big slump after all the bad publicity against them recently with a decline of 21.7%.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders state “if new diesel registrations continue on this negative trend, UK average new-car CO2 levels could actually rise this year, the first time such an increase would have occurred since average CO2 emissions were recorded.”

The chief executive of the SMMT said “September is always a barometer of the health of the UK new car market so this decline will cause considerable concern. Business and political uncertainty is reducing buyer confidence, with consumers and businesses more likely to delay big-ticket purchases. The confusion surrounding air quality plans has not helped, but consumers should be reassured that all the new diesel and petrol models on the market will not face any bans or additional charges.”

As with most business in 2017 a lot rides on the outcome of Brexit and the preparations the UK is making towards the smooth transition of leaving the European Union. Both business and public are very wary at this moment in time as there seems to be no clear path or indication of the final outcome, until business and the public have confidence in the UK government to move forward successfully it is likely that large ticket items such as new-car sales will stay repressed for the time being.