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%.