The UK’s new car market dipped -1.6% in January, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Just over 161,000 new cars were registered for use on UK roads, with trends in fuel choice seen last year continuing in the first month of 2019.
Following a decline in December, private buyers returned to showrooms – up 2.9% – registering 71,378 models in the month. Conversely, demand from business and fleet buyers fell by -33.5% and -3.4% respectively. Brtexit at work?
Meanwhile, appetite for alternatively fuelled vehicles grew 26.3%, resulting in a total 6.8% market share. The performance supports the latest forecast for this sector, currently expected to rise more than a quarter by the end of 2019 to around 177,000 units. Some 86,000 of these cars are set to be ultra low emission plug-in hybrids and battery electrics – taking plug-in hubrid and BEV market share to around 3.7% as an ever-increasing number of models come on sale. However, this level is still at the lower end of government ambitions, underlining the need for greater purchase incentives and investment in charging infrastructure.2
Petrol demand also grew in January, up 7.3%, but this was not enough to offset another month of decline for diesel, as registrations fell -20.3%.
Ford reamin at the top of the charts with the Fiesta and Focus as the two best sellers in 2019.