New car sales 2019: market down 4.9% as plug-in hybrid registrations plummet

Alternatively fuelled vehicle sales fell for the first time in 26 months, with sales of PHEVs dropping by 50.4 per cent

UK new car registrations declined by 4.9 per cent in June 2019 to 223,421 units, with registrations of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) halved.

The fourth consecutive month of decline for the market saw alternatively fuelled vehicle sales fall for the first time in 26 months, with the number of PHEVs leaving dealer forecourts dropping by 50.4 per cent, which SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) chief executive Mike Hawes said was a “grave concern” and caused by “confusing policies and the premature removal of purchase incentives”. Although the limited supply of plug-in hybrid models from manufacturers was also a factor.

• Best-selling cars in the UK 2019

The total number of new cars registered in the first half of 2019 was 1,269,245, 3.4 per cent less than in the first half of 2018. The fall has been blamed on an overall decline in consumer confidence.

Private registrations saw a 4.8 per cent loss and fleet dropped 2.5 per cent, but it was business that saw the biggest fall of 37.1 per cent. There were declines across all vehicle segments but one, with dual purpose vehicles (pick-up trucks and vans with additional seating) managing a 9.1 per cent boost year-on-year.

Registrations of petrol cars saw an improvement of 3.0 per cent on June last year, while all-electric car registrations encouragingly grew 61.7 per cent. Diesel, however, experienced its 27th consecutive month of decline, dropping 20.5 per cent. Along with the 50.4 per cent drop in PHEV sales, registrations of non-plug-in hybrids were also down 4.7 per cent.

Commenting on the figures, Hawes said: “Another month of decline is worrying but the fact that sales of alternatively fuelled cars are going into reverse is a grave concern.

“Manufacturers have invested billions to bring these vehicles to market but their efforts are now being undermined by confusing policies and the premature removal of purchase incentives. If we are to see widespread uptake of these vehicles, which are an essential part of a smooth transition to zero emission transport, we need world-class, long-term incentives and substantial investment in infrastructure.

“Fleet renewal remains the quickest way to address environmental concerns today and consumers should have the confidence – and support – to choose the new car that best meets their driving needs, whatever the technology, secure in the knowledge that it is safer and cleaner than ever before.”

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

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