New car sales 2019: January sees slight drop

January 2019 saw a 1.6 per cent dip in new car sales year-on-year, but sales of electrified vehicles surged

New car sales in the UK saw a slight drop in January 2019, but sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) – including plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and fully electric vehicles (EVs) – massively bucked the trend.

Last month saw 161,013 new cars registered in the UK – a year-on-year decline of 1.6 per cent, marking the fifth consecutive month of overall decline.

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Having seen a decline in December 2018, private sales saw a boost of 2.9 per cent, with 71,378 registrations. However, business and fleet demand fell 33.5 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively.

Despite this mostly negative picture, AFV sales rocketed 26.3 per cent to 11,014 units and a total market share of 6.8 per cent. Diesel registrations, on the other hand, fell by 20.3 per cent compared to January 2018. Meanwhile, petrol demand was on the rise again by 7.3 per cent.

According to the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), sales of AFVs are expected to surge by about a quarter to around 177,000 units by the end of 2019.

The Ford Fiesta entered the New Year retaining its title of best-selling new model, with 5,399 examples registered. It was a double win for the Blue Oval, as the Ford Focus took second place with 4,397 registrations, while Nissan came third with 4,270 sales of its Qashqai.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the fact the figures were “broadly on par” year-on-year was “encouraging”, but pointed out that it was still the fifth consecutive month of decline.

He called for “supportive policies” – especially on vehicle taxation – in order to encourage the uptake of newer, cleaner cars.

Click here to find out which car brands were the winners and losers in 2018…

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