Currently reading: Diesel car registrations slump by 20% in May 2017
The SMMT has penned the general election as the reason for an 8.5% decline in new car registrations in May 2017 compared with May 2016

New car registrations in the UK fell by 8.5% in May compared with the same month last year. A total of 186,265 cars were registered, compared with 203,585 in May 2016. 

The hardest-hit segment of the industry is diesels, which following a downward trend across the year-to-date have dived by 20% compared with May of last year. Just 81,489 were registered compared with more than 101,000 during the same month last year. This makes diesels' market share 43.7%, compared with petrol cars' 51.8%.

Petrol cars, on the other hand, remain buoyant, with 0.4% growth in the same time period.

Some of diesel’s losses were mopped up by alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) - hybrids, EVs hydrogen cars - which grew by 46.7%, to 8258 registries and 4.4% of the total market. This share is the highest the segment has ever taken.

Across the year, compared with the same period of 2016, total registrations are still down by 0.6%; 6,500 fewer cars have been registered so far. Diesel and private segments make up the hardest hit across this period, with 8.8% and 4.2% downturns respectively. 

The Ford Fiesta remains the UK’s best-selling car, and was May’s best-seller after Mercedes-Benz’s dominance in April, while the Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Qashqai were the second and third best-sellers of May. 

Shaun Armstrong, managing director of car finance provider Creditplus, said: "May figures could well mark the beginning of the end for diesel vehicles, with new registrations down 20,000 last month - it's hard to see how diesel can recover from what feels like a mortal blow.

“There is so much negative press around diesel at the moment - with proposals to introduce a toxin tax and the Government plans to launch a car scrappage scheme - that it's difficult to see anyone choosing diesel over petrol and AFVs right now."

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes' attention was on the upcoming general election, though. He said: “The general election was always likely to give many pause for thought and affect purchasing patterns in the short term. Although demand has fallen, it’s important to remember that the market remains at a very high level and, with a raft of new models packed with the latest low-emissions and connected technology coming to market this summer, we expect the market to remain strong over the year.”

Read more:

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MarkII 6 June 2017

Governments & the Motor Industry

Setting aside the politics, successive governments have been wrong footed, misled and sometimes too chicken to make sweeping changes but back in 2001 when the then government promoted diesel cars it was at a time when diesel uptake in europe far exceeded ours (so we weren't the only ones sleep walking into a fog of diesel) and that government didn't have the health stats we do now. Since then we've learned the damage that particulates and NOx can cause and there's no doubt something has to change BUT no government, no matter what their political persuasion wants to take the kind of decisions necessary to tackle the problem...what a vote loser that would be. The motor industry has been complicit in creating the problem by knowingly creating small diesel cars for use in towns and cities for which they are wholly unsuitable AND creating cheat devices to fool government bodies and the public into believing their vehicles meet legislation and are clean/economical. There is no sense in banning all diesels from the road or taxing all diesel drivers to the hilt. Used under the right circumstances (like a lengthy journey by A road or motorway - not crawling along at 5mph) a post euro5 diesel (with dpf) shouldn't represent a particular threat to public health BUT using a diesel car (esp pre euro5 or without dpf) to crawl 5 miles to/from work or to drop off the kids, generates numererous health problems. In my opinion the motor industry (who for years made billions out of charging more for diesel cars) should be tasked with developing an engineering solution to the problem OR contributing towards the cost of replacement for all those owners who, as a result of clever marketing and dodgy testing were duped into buying vehicles totally unsuitable for their commute and the health of our nation. Frankly, expecting us to all go out and buy electric cars, when there isn't a clean nationally available method of energy creation, nor the charging infrastructure or energy capacity to support largescale uptake of EV, is a just pipe dream.
fadyady 5 June 2017

Not enough

May's lame government has not taken a single step yet to end the favoritism and tax subsidies that diesel still enjoys and yet buyers are beginning to realise that they don't even need diesel. I will probably buy diesel if I was a high miler or towed or had a large car etc which is about 15 percent of the buyers. The rest have been duped into buying it due to a blend of very dodgy factors such as lower taxes and duties, newspaper and magazine recommendations, etc. Once tax disparity is removed diesel will most likely return to between 10 and 20 percent of the market.
Andrew 61 5 June 2017

At least,

the cost of diesel should come down. If it is indeed the supply/demand equation that has held up prices, despite cheaper refining costs.
I can see diesels becoming the preserve of country folk who don't venture into big city's often, so no pollution charges to pay, and can just benefit from good MPG figures.
They cannot be banned completely or removed via scrappage schemes as there are far too many of them.
Hopefully a renewed attempt at controlling polluting emissions will grasp the idea that filling the roads with speed humps was a ridiculous idea and they will now be removed.