Publicado: Vie, Abril 06, 2018
Financiera | Por Marilu Caballero

SMMT: British new van market declines -5.6% in March

SMMT: British new van market declines -5.6% in March

In the first quarter, registrations were down 12.4% year on year.

The declining figures represent a snapshot of an industry struggling with uncertainty around Brexit, decline in diesel demand and a particularly strong March previous year, when buyers seized the chance to purchase cars before new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates came into force that April.

March is a plate-change month, which typically drives a spike in demand, but the SMMT pointed out that it was always going to be tough to beat last March, when new vehicle registrations hit a record high as consumers brought forward purchases to beat a tax rise which came into force in April 2017.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which conducted the research, said economic and political uncertainty had negatively impacted consumer confidence, as had "confusion over air quality".

The latter has had registrations fall by over 37% due to excise, emissions reports and recent legislation from the EU.

While demand for diesel has fallen sharply since the emissions scandal and amid uncertainty about future environmental levies on diesel cars, sales of new petrol cars rose 0.5% in March, and plug-in and hybrid sales were up 5.7%.

March is generally the top-selling month of the year as it is one of only two months when new licence plates are issued. Registrations of petrol cars were essentially stable, up 0.5%.

Mr Hawes urged the Government to do more to encourage motorists to ditch their old cars and replace them with new, cleaner vehicles.

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"March's decline is not unexpected given the huge surge in registrations in the same month past year", SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said regarding the latest data.

Ian Gilmartin, head of retail at Barclays corporate banking, said the United Kingdom industry still had some reasons to be cheerful.

Hawes added that the government should incentivise drivers to have new cars rather than retain older models. This means creating the right economic conditions for all types of consumers to have the confidence to buy new vehicles.

Auto buyers don't know where to turn amid the ongoing debate about the future of diesel vehicles, an industry expert has said.

It is "pertinent" that the ongoing drop in diesel sales is not matched by equivalent rises in sales of petrol and electrified cars, he said.

He said: "As consumer confidence in diesel continues to plunge, the industry needs the government to inject consumer confidence by offering clarity on the future of diesel, and by comprehensively laying down their plans for the £400m promised for electric infrastructure in last year's Budget".

Carwow's James Hind believes there is some good news for consumers, however, as the market tries to re-engage with vehicle buyers with strong discounts, especially for new diesel models.

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