New car sales down 2.9 per cent in October

October figures reveal a 2.9 per cent decline compared to last year, but show recovery from September’s new car sales slump

New car sales declined 2.9 per cent in October compared to the same month last year, with model changes and testing backlogs as a result of WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Testing Procedure) causing supply shortages for manufacturers.

A total of 153,599 new cars found homes in October, with drastic changes to the Government’s Plug-in Car Grant causing a rush to market, with a 30.7 per cent increase in the sale of AFVs (alternatively-fuelled vehicles) and an 86.9 per cent rise – equivalent to 584 units – in the number of new EVs (electric vehicles) registered.

• Best selling cars 2018

The figures from the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) also showed sales of petrol cars rose 7.1 per cent, but this was contrasted by a 21.3 per cent fall in the number of new diesels registered thanks to a lack of clarity over the Government’s policy on the fuel type. Meanwhile, private sales were down 1.0 per cent, while fleet sector registrations fell by 5.2 per cent.

Some brands did better than others, with year-on-year sales increases for Jaguar (+81.94 per cent), MINI (+62.72 per cent) and Mazda (+42.96 per cent), while there were decreases for DS (-61.04 per cent), Audi (-52.65 per cent) and Alfa Romeo (-22.53 per cent).

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes blamed the further decline on “VED upheaval, regulatory changes and confusion over diesel” and said it was “good to see plug-in registrations buck the trend”.

He added: “Demand is still far from the levels needed to offset losses elsewhere, however, and is making the Government’s decision to remove purchase incentives even more baffling.”

Finally, Hawes warned that the Government’s “forthcoming review of WLTP’s impact on taxation must ensure that buyers of the latest, cleanest cars are not unfairly penalised, else we will see older, more polluting cars remain on the road for longer”.

Check out the top ten cars sold in the UK in 2018…

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