Vehicle sales decline deepens as diesel models plummet

Diesel vs petrol Diesel sales are down 29.9% in a year with drivers spooked by toxin tax punishments

Diesel vs petrol Diesel sales are down 29.9% in a year with drivers spooked by toxin tax punishments

However, SMMT has claimed that "confusion" over the potential introduction of measures to restrict the use of diesel vehicles in some areas has impacted demand for new diesel cars.

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. Year to date, that means the new auto market has declined -4.6%, which is in line with the SMMT's forecasts. "Modern Euro 6 diesel cars can not be compared to older diesel models". Elsewhere, BMW's 4 Series has shot into the top ten for the very first time this year, while Mercedes continues to make its presence felt thanks to the A-Class, while the C-Class retains its position of number eight in the year-to-date.

He said consumers needed "urgent reassurance" that the latest, low emission diesel cars would not face any bans, charges or restrictions.

Dealers reported -10.1% fewer private buyers taking delivery of new cars in the month.

Mike Hawes, the SMMT chief executive, said: "Declining business and consumer confidence is undoubtedly affecting demand in the new vehicle market but this is being compounded by confusion over government policy on diesel".

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Sales of new cars have tumbled for a seventh consecutive month amid a slump in consumer confidence with diesel sales falling by almost a third.

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.

Simon Benson, director of motoring services at AA Cars, comments: "The Government's ongoing crackdown on older "dirty diesel" has had a significant impact on the new auto market, with sales plummeting by nearly 30% in October". According to the data, alternatively fuelled auto registrations were up 36.9% compared to 2016, with 8,244 cars having been registered during the month. The latter - which accounts for hybrid and electric vehicles - now accounts for 5.2% of the market overall.

General uncertainty is making businesses and consumers reluctant to make buying decisions, according to Andy Hartley, commercial director at Lex Autolease.

"The pace of take-up of Alternative Fuelled Vehicles (AFVs) is encouraging, but crucial to drivers and fleets seeing the environmental and cost-benefits of AFVs is driver behaviour".

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