First dip in new car registrations for three and a half years; diesel market share falls; mixed picture for Volkswagen brands; hybrid and EV sales rise
Matt Burt
5 November 2015

Monthly new car registrations in the UK dropped for the first time in more than three and a half years in October as market growth levelled off.

Figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 177,664 new cars were registered last month, compared with 179,714 in October 2014. This represents a fall of 1.1% – the first such drop following a record 43 consecutive months of growth.

There is also a small indication that British consumers could be starting to turn away from diesel cars in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

The market share for diesel-fuelled cars fell by 0.5% in October compared with the same month in 2014, and has dropped by 1.7% in total for the year to date compared to the corresponding 10 months in 2014.

Registrations of petrol-powered cars rose by 0.2% last month, and are up by a full 1% for the year to date.

The most significant development is the growth in demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs). October AFV volumes were up by 13.8% but, more importantly, they accounted for 3% of the total market in October – the first time this has ever happened.

However, there is a mixed picture for the actual brands within the Volkswagen Group, suggesting that brand confidence hasn’t necessarily been hit by the ongoing scandal.

Volkswagen’s market share compared with October 2014 decreased by 9.84% last month, but rivals Ford and Vauxhall also posted market share losses.

Audi enjoyed a mild uplift in market share of 2.24%, but Skoda was down 3.03% and Seat fell by 32.23%.

Year-to-date figures demonstrate that the new car market is still very buoyant – 2,274,550 cars have been registered so far this year, 6.4% more than at this time in 2014, and the best year-to-date performance on record.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “The UK car market has gone through a period of unprecedented growth and, so far, 2015 has been a bumper year with the strongest performance since the recession.

“As expected, demand has now begun to level off but the sector is in a strong position, as low interest rates, consumer confidence and exciting new products combine to attract new car buyers. The current full-year growth forecast remains on track.”

The high-value market segments enjoyed significant gains, with specialist sports and luxury saloon vehicle registrations growing 59.0% and 23.1% respectively.

The UK’s most-registered new cars in October 2015

1 Ford Fiesta 8577 cars registered

2 Vauxhall Corsa 5061

3 Volkswagen Golf 5057

4 Ford Focus 4913

5 Nissan Qashqai 4544

6 Audi A3 3884

7 Volkswagen Polo 3233

8 Nissan Juke 3155

9 BMW 1 Series 2944

10 BMW 3 Series 2805

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5 November 2015
Two Volkswagon's, two BMW's an Audi and only ONE Vauxhall in the top 10? This must be seriously worrying news for GM because the number of people buying cars and the amount of money they're willing to pay for those cars doesn't appear to be the problem.


6 November 2015
quote "This must be seriously worrying news for GM because the number of people buying cars and the amount of money they're willing to pay for those cars doesn't appear to be the problem".
Except they are not Scotty....this is fuelled by pcp's where a BMW/Audi/M-B are as cheap per month (or even les in some cases) as a Vauxhall/Peugeot/Ford.
Therefore it is a 'no brainer' for the purchaser.

5 November 2015
Where's the Astra??? I'd have thought the run out models would have had it in at least the top 5, especially considering they were selling a £9,995 model.

5 November 2015
Diesel down, plugins up I'm happy. Love to why we're only allowed limited free information considering the source is a government dept I.e. The dvla. Freedom of information act anyone?

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion


6 November 2015
The data comes from the SMMT xxxx, anyone can go to their website and download the registration data for the month at brand level.
Its only the model level data which is restricted to the motor industry.

5 November 2015
I'm a little bit surprised that Volkswagen did not use aggressive discounting to keep hold on their share of the market.


6 November 2015
Quote "I'm a little bit surprised that Volkswagen did not use aggressive discounting to keep hold on their share of the market".
All brands are heavily discounting fadyady, despite their protestations that they aren't.
That's why this buoyant market for the last 3years + is a 'false' market fuelled by huge discounts and mega cheap PCP's.

5 November 2015
The article is just biased to keep the VW story going. Vauxhall dropped 16% and Ford's sales fell by nearly 9%, i.e. both down nearly as much or much more than VW. Most of the VW share slump can be blamed on Seat (no change there then)

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

6 November 2015
11. Astra 2800 units

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