Currently reading: UK new car market suffers biggest decline in Europe
British demand fell 12.4% in the first quarter of 2018
Autocar
News
2 mins read
25 April 2018

The UK experienced the fastest rate of decline in the European new car market in the first quarter of 2018.

Figures provided by industry analysis company JATO show that Britain’s new car sales totalled 718,489, equating to a 12.4% fall on the first quarter of last year. The UK ranked bottom, below Norway and Ireland, which saw year-on-year sales decreases of 11.3% and 5.3% respectively.

The UK drop heavily contrasts with the 0.7% increase in demand experienced by the wider European region. Growth was driven by rapid increases in demand for cars within countries such as Spain, Hungary and the Netherlands, which saw sales surge by a respective 11.9%, 29.9% and 13.9%.

European demand was actually down in the month of March by 5.2%, but January and February demand proved so strong that it ensured an overall gain in the quarter compared with the first three months of 2017.

The UK has been in decline for several months, with March seeing a 15.7% fall in sales. The downward trend is expected to continue in April.

Much of the fall has been associated with diesel’s damaged image and the UK Government’s recent diesel tax hike. It is thought to have discouraged people from buying new diesel models, which, up until recently, consistently represented more than 40% of the new car market but now account for 33.5%.

This diesel decline has been felt across the whole of Europe, too, with diesel cars now accounting for 38% of overall sales in the first three months of 2018, down from 46% in the same period last year.

Land Rover was hit hardest by diesel’s woes, with sales for the Coventry car maker down by 21% in the first quarter. The company recently confirmed it wouldn’t be renewing 1000 agency staff contracts amid falling demand.

Another British brand, Vauxhall (and its continental equivalent, Opel) was the next worst off, with sales down by 16%. Both of those brands have also confirmed that they will be reducing the number of franchised dealers in order to boost efficiency of the sales network.

Volkswagen remained Europe’s top brand and achieved 2% growth in the first three months of the year. Sales of the Golf hatchback reached 54,060, keeping it ahead of the Ford Fiesta – which suffered from a 15% decline in demand – to take the top spot in Europe by 14,164 units.

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Comments
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fadyady 26 April 2018

Propaganda

Diesel sales in Germany have declined at the same rate as the UK but their sales for the first quarter are up. The sales of Volkswagen the mother of diesel scandal are up. How does Autocar explain that?
TS7 25 April 2018

Might have bought a XFR-S Sportbrake...

...but they didn't release a MkII. Bought a RS6 instead.

michael knight 25 April 2018

All this talk of diesel

All this talk of diesel neglects the fact that sales didn't fall by anywhere near as much in the rest of Europe...No-one daren't mention the B word huh? Leavers denial.

armstrm 25 April 2018

michael knight wrote:

michael knight wrote:

All this talk of diesel neglects the fact that sales didn't fall by anywhere near as much in the rest of Europe...No-one daren't mention the B word huh? Leavers denial.

Well that is simple, the UK politicians have been some of the most vocal in europe about condeming diesel, and increasing taxes. Given that the UK has some of the highest motoring taxes in Europe, any talk of more is taken very seriously, as our politicians have plenty of form for treating motorists as cash cows.

michael knight 26 April 2018

armstrm wrote:

armstrm wrote:

Well that is simple, the UK politicians have been some of the most vocal in europe about condeming diesel, and increasing taxes. [/quote]

What's that statement based on? Do you read Bild, Figaro and the rest regularly? 

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