Slump in United Kingdom auto sales deepens as industry records 12% fall

Car sales The Ford Fiesta remains Britain's best seller- but new car sales have dropped 12.2

Offsetting the decline in diesel auto registrations, the figures published by the SMMT indicate that demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles such as battery electric cars have continued to rise.

There were marked declines across all sectors, with business and fleet demand down -26.8% and -13.0% respectively.

Falling consumer confidence largely caused by uncertainty surrounding the future of diesel has been blamed for the recent fall in registrations.

Sales of petrol fuelled cars rose 2.7% in October to not far off 88,000, with sales up 2.9% in the first 10 months of the year. The SMMT has now called on the government to reassure consumers that "the latest, low emission diesel cars will not face any bans or restrictions".

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The UK new auto market saw another month of decline - and is down year-on-year - on the back of poor diesel sales.

"We urge the government to use the forthcoming Autumn Budget to restore stability to the market, encouraging the purchase of the latest low emission vehicles as fleet renewal is the fastest and most effective way of addressing air quality concerns".

The industry body said auto registrations dropped 12.2% year-on-year to 158,192 last month - the second double-digit decline this year.

The SMMT is now predicting full-year sales of cars will fall 4.7 per cent to 2.57m units this year, having revised down its forecast last week.

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However, Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said diesel was getting an unnecessarily bad name and urged action from the government.

Overall, fewer new cars are being registered.

Diesel sales tumbled by almost 30% in October following the scandal over rigging emissions tests and political rumblings over restrictions on diesel cars. We must also remember Brexit has already had an impact on the United Kingdom vehicle market through the fundamental shift in the exchange rate which is impacting auto prices, making the market correction even more understandable.

Demand for diesel vehicles plunged 29.9 per cent in October as a result. The latter - which accounts for hybrid and electric vehicles - now accounts for 5.2% of the market overall.

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"Confidence in new, cleaner diesel vehicles must be restored and consumers need to understand that no town or city has plans to charge Euro 6 diesels to enter".

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