European car registrations fell by 7.1% year-on-year in April, with an even sharper decline in diesel registrations.
Registrations of new diesel engines in Europe declined by 15% last month compared with April 2016, according to research by market analysts JATO Dynamics. That suggests continuing concerns from buyers over the environmental impact of diesel engines, and the continuing fall-out from Dieselgate.
The decline in diesel registrations mean that the fuel has lost its dominance of the European market, accounting for 46% of the market compared with 50% in April 2016.
In total, 1.22 million cars were registered in Europe in April 2017. The 7.1% year-on-year drop was the largest monthly decline since March 2013. In contrast, overall registrations rose 10.8% year-on-year in March, totalling 1.98 million units.
The fall in registrations was particularly sharp in ‘traditional’ car segments: registrations of compact cars fell 11.9% year-on-year, with MPV registrations dropping 21.3%. By contrast, the SUV sector continued to grow, with registrations rising 7.2%.
In the UK, total registrations dropped to 152,076 in April, a decline of 19.8%, suggesting the impact of new VED rates introduced at the start of the month.
Volkswagen remains the most popular car brand in Europe, with 136,475 registrations, although this was a year-on-year decline of 13.9%. The Volkswagen Golf was Europe’s best-selling car in April, regaining the spot it had held for seven years before being overtaken by the Ford Fiesta in March. The Renault Clio was the second best-selling car, ahead of the Volkswagen Polo and Volkswagen Tiguan. The Fiesta dropped to eighth.