2018 new car registrations down 6.8%
New car registrations fell 6.8% in 2018 to finish the year at 2.36 million units.
The SMMT blamed the switch to WLTP regulations impacting supply and a lack of consumer confidence thanks to broad economic uncertainty over Brexit.
Diesel registrations fell 30% as new car buyers switched to petrol, hybrid and electric vehicles over uncertainty on the Government’s future tax plans. The shift away from diesel led to a 3% rise in the UK’s average CO2 figure over 2017.
Total new car registrations ended 2018 at 2,367,147, down 6.8% on 2017’s total of 2,540,617 cars.
Private registrations were down 6.4%, while fleet was down 7.3%.
Commenting on the year-end figures SMMT chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “A second year of substantial decline is a major concern, as falling consumer confidence, confusing fiscal and policy measures and shortages due to regulatory changes have combined to create a highly turbulent market.”
Looking to 2019, Ian Plummer, Auto Trader director added: “2019 holds some significant bright spots for retailers, manufacturers and consumers alike.
“Brexit anxieties cast a long shadow last year and will continue to do so. A ‘no deal’ will likely impact new car sales as poor exchange rates and potential tariffs could force brands to pass on the cost to consumers. However, a smooth Brexit resulting in stable exchange rates and trade agreements, would signal to manufacturers that the UK remains a positive growth market with good profit opportunities, ensuring both a healthy pipeline of new stock and some great deals for consumers.”