The latest set of new car registration data to be released by the SMMT shows the very first real sign of a slowdown in the UK new car market. Accepting that February is a quiet month, there was still an expectation of an increase in new car registrations over February 2016.
There is little doubt that March will see high volumes of both natural and forced registrations as the new registration plate and impending VED increases at the end of the month force manufacturers to move stock faster than they may have liked. The interesting point here is that there has been quite a dip in diesel car registrations which is perhaps the beginning of an unwelcome trend. At 9.2% down in the month and 5.9% year to date, market share for diesels in 2017 has dipped by 4.3%. With such a drop in diesel registrations Glass’s would have expected to have seen a drop in Fleet market penetration but Fleet sales have actually increased by 3.3% for the month.
Private sales have decreased by 4.4% and therefore this data suggests that either petrol cars are being sold to fleets in greater volume or there has been a concerted tactical push to register these cars. The coming months will be very interesting both from a new car market volume perspective but also with a view to the desirability and social acceptability of the diesel engine.”