The UK new car market closed 2017 in line with the forecasts at the start of the year, which predicted a decline in registrations following 2016’s record performance. New passenger car registrations saw a decline of -14.4% in December to 152,473 units, according to the latest SMMT new passenger car figures. As a result, the new car market was down by -5.7% on last year’s record performance to a total of 2,540,617 million units registered in 2017.
Alternative fuel vehicles rose by 37% in December, which confirmed the positive trend seen throughout all 2017. The AFV segment reached a market share of 5.6% in December. Registrations of petrol cars were down by -2.1% in the month and up 2.7% in 2017, while diesel decreased by -31.1% in December and -17.1% in 2017.
The new car market remains at high levels and whilst it is challenging, franchised car retailers report that consumers remain interested in buying new cars but they are demanding more clarity on areas such as diesel and taxation
Despite recent confusion and speculation, with low interest rates and record employment levels franchised retailers remain optimistic. Although 2018 will bring challenges, there will also be many opportunities for our sector which is resilient and capable of adapting to changes.
The significant growth of the alternative fuel vehicles segment is particularly encouraging. However, as petrol and diesel still represent the vast majority of UK’s car parc, it is crucial that consumers and businesses continue to receive consistent support to ensure that this transition is as smooth as possible.
NFDA will continue to work with the Government and key partners to safeguard the interests of one of the major contributors to the UK economy, the automotive retailing industry.