Currently reading: UK new car market down 7.3% in January, diesel at 20-year low
SMMT blames low consumer demand and diesel confusion for substantial year-on-year decline

Britain's new car market tumbled by 7.3% year-on-year in January, figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal. 

A total of 149,279 vehicles were registered across the month, down by just under 12,000 from the same month last year. Diesel car sales again declined substantially, and has a market share of below 20% for the first time in twenty years. Petrol car registrations also dropped by 9.5%, however. 

Top 10 best-selling cars in Britain 2019

The SMMT blames "continued confusion surround diesel and clean air zones and ongoing weak consumer and business confidence" for the fall. Private sales were hit the hardest - down 13.9% - with fleet registrations taking a less substantial 2.2% hit. 

There is some good news, however: alternatively-fuelled cars continued their steady but significant rise throughout 2019, capturing a record 11.9% of the market. 

January registrations 2004 to 2020

The influx of mild-hybrid models was the biggest driver (diesel mild hybrids are up 721% year-on-year), but hybrids (up 20.6%), plug-in hybrids (up 111%) and battery electric vehicles (up 204%) are all growing in popularity. EVs now make up 2.7% of the market, compared to just 0.8% in the same period the year before. 

SMMT chief Mike Hawes called the overall market decline "unsettling", however. 

"Consumer confidence is not returning to the market and will not be helped by the government's decision to add further confusion and instability by moving the goalposts on the end of sale of internal combustion engine cars.

"While ambition is understandable, as we must address climate change and air quality concerns, blanket bans do not help... government must lead the transition with an extensive and appropriately funded package of fiscal incentives, policies and investment to drive demand". 

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Peter Cavellini 6 February 2020

Guess work.

We are all guessing at best, we don't know, the Government can only go by there figures, and like us they can't predict the future.

fadyady 5 February 2020

Moaning minnie

Mike Hawes should change his name to moaning minnie. 15 years is a long time to put enough of the right type of cars on the roads.
If we go by his plan, we will all be driving dirty diesels well into the next century.
RobNeill 5 February 2020

Kicking the motor industry

I hope the government quickly realise that using the motor industry as a convenient political football to satisfy loby groups and divert attention from more challenging issues is at best short sighted and is actually highly irresponsible.