British demand fell 12.4% in the first quarter of 2018
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.

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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
14

25 April 2018

I think the UK issue has as much to do with the pre registering of low tax cars before last Aprils tax hike, which caused a spike in registrations last spring, as it has to do with anything else.

289

25 April 2018

Quite right Artill.

This is a BS story, yes the market has been effected by diesels unpopularity, but apart from a few of the very biggest fleets holding fire on purchasing for a couple of months, I have yet to see anyone I know NOT buy a new car who needed to change their car. They have either bought petrol or Hybrid, or bitten the bullet and stuck with diesel.

No, Q1 2017's numbers are all about a totally false market driven by the new VED rules coming into play April 1st 2017, and the market/buyers various reactions to this.

Its a non story again, and merely shows a more realistic market today although pre-reg is, (as always) still rampant!

25 April 2018

No it wasn't. It was hit hardest by laziness and complacency in taking easy profits from higher prices and inconsequential side shows like E-Types and Project 8s, rather than the harder task of better engineering, improved quality, lower costs and competitive entry-level offerings. That works fine when the whole market is dragged up and 'premium' benefits the most, but its worse when the market turns and the effect is similarly amplified.

25 April 2018

Project Fear, isn't it?

25 April 2018
Whenever I've criticised Land Rover's epic lack of design flare post Range Rover and Evoque, I've been met with a barrage of 'what do you know, they can't make their cars fast enough' derision.

I maintain that their two designs are now 6 years old and the world is confused and bored by the feeble variations in all the other Sport/Discovery/Velar iterations of those designs.

What's more, the Discovery 4 looks more handsome and contemporary by the day. The Discovery 5 is dull, and unbalanced both vertically and horizontally.

McGovern must go.

25 April 2018
eseaton wrote:

Whenever I've criticised Land Rover's epic lack of design flare post Range Rover and Evoque, I've been met with a barrage of 'what do you know, they can't make their cars fast enough' derision.

I maintain that their two designs are now 6 years old and the world is confused and bored by the feeble variations in all the other Sport/Discovery/Velar iterations of those designs.

What's more, the Discovery 4 looks more handsome and contemporary by the day. The Discovery 5 is dull, and unbalanced both vertically and horizontally.

McGovern must go.

It's not just design, it's also a lack of diversity in their range. People turn away from diesel for whatever reason, diesel mostly powers LR's range of SUV's, what else is within their within the JLR range to push these customers into.... Nothing, no credible alternatives. Most of the SUV's are too heavy to be suitable for petrol power, Petrol Ingenium aside, what petrol engines are available are poor and inefficient. JLR's model strategy has always been risky, it's good when the going is good, but as we can see, it can go wrong very quickly.

25 April 2018

[/quote] It's not just design, it's also a lack of diversity in their range. People turn away from diesel for whatever reason, diesel mostly powers LR's range of SUV's, what else is within their within the JLR range to push these customers into.... Nothing, no credible alternatives. Most of the SUV's are too heavy to be suitable for petrol power, Petrol Ingenium aside, what petrol engines are available are poor and inefficient. JLR's model strategy has always been risky, it's good when the going is good, but as we can see, it can go wrong very quickly.[/quote]

I think lack of diversity has been JLR's biggest weakness. Specifically, diversity within each model with regards to cusomisation has been incredibly poor. Whether it be Interior, Exterior or Powertrain, the opportunities for personalisation of your chosen model have been pathetic and have gotten worse since launch with many of the original paint options being retracted and now with the V6 being pulled from the range.

Thoroughly disappointing.

25 April 2018

I didn’t buy a disco 5 when I renewed my car in January from a disco 4 as:

1. I disliked the design of the 5

2. The image is not really country any more, it’s just a bit naff.

3. The dealers were appalling, and made me feel they didn’t want my money as they were not willing to do a “deal”

4. Volvo have a better image

5. Volvo XC90  look nicer (To me anyway)

6. The Volvo dealers bent over backwards to have my money. Made me feel as they wanted my business.

add the above to the diesel thing, and you have a doomsday scenario for LR

Spanner

25 April 2018

I have just bought anew Fiesta ecoboost having changed from a 2012 Kia Rio diesel, still spending the same on fuel each week doing 300 miles and haven’t had to pay the extra for a diesel. Used to start the engine before scraping ice and it stank yet had a DPF filter?!?! Now petrols are similar no need to buy diesel, surprised the top ten sellers isn’t full if Toyota hybrids though....would have lived a CHR!

25 April 2018

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.

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