Fleet new auto registrations fall in November as diesel demand drops again

Fleet new auto registrations fall in November as diesel demand drops again

United Kingdom sales of new cars fell for an eighth consecutive month in November as economic uncertainty and a sharp fall in demand for diesel cars weighed on demand.

New vehicle sales fell by 10 per cent in November amid diesel tax confusion, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The industry was harshly critical of the latest budget tax raid on the sale of new diesels, which are regarded as some of the greenest vehicles coming on to the market.

November saw significant falls across the board with fleet down -14.4%, business registrations, to companies operating fewer than 25 cars, down -33.6% and retail down -5.1%. But neither of those increases was big enough to offset a dramatic 30.6 per cent drop in diesel registrations.

Richard Jones, the managing director of Black Horse, which is one of the UK's leading motor finance providers, said: 'These figures show the new vehicle market continues a trend of moving to a more sustainable position.

And registrations of alternatively fuelled vehicles rose 33.1% to 8,867 units, equating to 5.4% of the market - up from 3.6% past year.

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The lobby group for United Kingdom carmakers said that while that decline drove overall sales 11% lower year on year, higher petrol auto sales helped offset that figure.

The industry has hit out at Chancellor Philip Hammond and the government for its "anti-diesel message" that it claims will "discourage drivers from trading in their older, more polluting cars".

The fall marks the eight month of falling registrations in 2017.

Nathan Coe, Auto Trader's Chief Operating Officer, said, "2017 has been a challenging year for the new vehicle market, with Brexit continuing to cast a shadow over consumer confidence, exchange rates impacting the profitability of United Kingdom new vehicle sales and the effect of the ongoing demonisation of diesel only serving to confuse consumers and hamper production plans for manufacturers".

"Penalising the latest, cleanest diesels is counterproductive and will have detrimental environmental and economic consequences".