Diesel vehicle demand continues to decline

Diesel vehicle demand continues to decline

Diesel vehicle demand continues to decline

The decline of 15.7%, which is substantially higher than the 2.8% year-on-year drop in February, is partly because March 2017 was a record month for United Kingdom new auto sales, ahead of April's change in Vehicle Excise Duty.

"Car sellers shouldn't be too disheartened - the industry is still producing very high quality products, with most cars, including diesel models, more environmentally friendly than ever".

The overall market fell by approximately 12 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

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

Sales of diesel cars have slumped in many European countries as regulators and politicians crack down on the segment with plans for bans, levies and additional taxes in many cities.

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%.

Sales of plug-in hybrids was particularly strong, up 18.2% for the month, but supply-side issues (not enough cars to meet demand) could be dulling overall registrations; production bottlenecks at VW's main factory in Wolfburg have forced it to withdraw the Golf GTE from sale, for example.

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Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, "March's decline is not unexpected given the huge surge in registrations in the same month past year".

"March's decline is not unexpected given the huge surge in registrations in the same month a year ago".

In terms of vehicle types, demand for dual goal cars remains the best performer in March, down -0.7%, with just 713 fewer vehicles registered than in the record March 2017.

All new diesels have been subjected to a one-band increase in the first-year vehicle excise duty rate since Sunday.

He said: "The market itself is relatively high, with the underlying factors in terms of consumer choice, finance availability and cost of ownership all highly competitive".

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: "March's decline is not unexpected, given the huge surge in registrations in the same month previous year".

"All technologies, regardless of fuel type, have a role to play in helping improve air quality whilst meeting our climate change targets, so government must do more to encourage consumers to buy new vehicles", he added.

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