Fourth consecutive month of decreasing new car sales is attributed to economic conditions

New car sales fell by 9.3% in July, the fourth consecutive month in which demand has decreased.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) has attributed Brexit and economic uncertainty as the main cause for the continuing slump in sales. In the second quarter of this year, there have been 161,997 cars sold in the UK – a contrast to the record-breaking growth of the year's first three months.

Demand fell across business, fleet and private buyers by -23.8%, -10.1% and -6.8% respectively. Conversely, dual-purpose and sports cars sales rose by 7.3% and 10.3% respectively, although volumes were comparatively tiny.

Sales of diesel cars fell to 69,157 in July, close to 17,000 less than sales were in the same month of 2016, suggesting that consumers are being affected by announcements for diesel taxes, despite the fact such policies won’t affect the latest Euro 6-standard models.

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The same comparison for petrol shows a smaller drop of close to 3,000 units, with numbers down to 83,969 for July.

One area of the market that has seen continued growth is alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), which soared in sales by 64.9%. AVFs also grew their market share, but still only accounted for 5.5% of overall sales, meaning the growth was far from offsetting the slump in petrol and diesel cars.

Nevertheless, 8,871 new AVFs were driven off forecourts in this quarter – a new record high.

Year-to-date sales figures stand at 1,563,808, compared with 1,599,159 at this point in 2016.

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SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said: “The fall in consumer and business confidence is having a knock on effect on demand in the new car market and government must act quickly to provide concrete plans regarding Brexit.

“While it's encouraging to see record achievements for AFVs, consumers considering other fuel types will have undoubtedly been affected by the uncertainty surrounding the government's clean air plans. It's important to remember that there are no plans to charge drivers using the latest Euro 6 models and no proposed bans for conventional petrol and diesel vehicles for some 23 years.

“The lower demand in recent months will inevitably mean competition from manufacturers will intensify and it will be a good opportunity for consumers to get a great deal on their next car, with many exciting new models launched in the coming months.”

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Join the debate


4 August 2017

Come on, the sales figures are hardly a disaster with a year to date drop of just 2%. Surely this is just part of the natural rise and fall of car sales, with many other factors invloved, not least the concern with diesel, the change in VED rates and the ever increasing road congestion.  

4 August 2017
It's the extra VED on card over 40k, and people waiting to see what stunts the governments going to pull over diesel emissions.


4 August 2017 see a breakdow of car sales by 'cost bracket' list price, say every £10K up to £100K, and then £100K+.

Cobnapint wrote:

It's the extra VED on card over 40k, and people waiting to see what stunts the governments going to pull over diesel emissions.

4 August 2017

That's a colossal drop of 20% in one year for diesel sales and only a 5% drop for petrol, if this continues diesel sales will make up just 20-25% of cars sales in 2-3 years, by that time I can see EV and PHEV not far behind on on around 20%. Hard to imagine just a couple of years, see you can get what you wish for (well at least I can)

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

4 August 2017

The stamp duty and ved changes wher ean obvious malicious virus use brexit as an excus eI will not change my car because of it where met paint could cost you an extra £300 per year for 6 years and by me being on strike so to speak will lose trhe treasury 20% vat on a car say £10k and save me on depreciation,just annoyed that a n idiot like Osborne can get away with being a well paid plonker.not with my cash _uck u

we should all get a v8 mustange in protest cheaper ved now and under 40k but what a waste of fuel.

4 August 2017

Lease deals are no longer as attractive as they were pre-Brexit vote. There were some great value deals in 2015/16. My Fiesta lease is about to end and will be replaced by a used car.

4 August 2017

The EU due to their unachievable NOX dictat,  and plonker I'm gonna charge VAT on a pasty if the molecules inside it are moving around, and I'm a brilliant back stabbing newspaper editor aren't I just look at me - Os, fkg, borne with his, this'll do wonders for the luxury car market kick in the nut-sack, that'll learn 'em to go out spending their hard earned money, extra £1510 in the first 5 years of ownership extortion fee. What a total, first class, top of the charts - HELMET.

4 August 2017
I suggest that you take a course of elocution lessons.

4 August 2017

The laziest excuse in the the history of lazy excuses..

If anything goes wrong Brexit, if it goes well Brexit.. How about that perhaps the bubble has burst, and us mugs are sick of handing over good money for "new" vehicles that look exactly the same as the old one, using the same chassis and engines, but allegedly perform better..

5.3m vehicles needing modification from the "superior" German marques should be enough indication that the public may have lost confidence. 

4 August 2017
Still too many diesel sales. The faster the diesel sales drop to about 15% the better.


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