New car market hits six-year low

  06 January 2020

New car registrations fell 2.4% in 2019 to hit a year total of 2.31m units. Retail registrations fell 3.2% taking 44.1% of the market.

The fall in 2019 brings the market to a six-year low and the SMMT is forecasting 2020 will be down again, by 1.6% to 2.27m new cars. December saw a 3.4% rise to hit 148,997 new cars registered. Retail sales were almost unchanged (up 0.1%) to take 36.8% of the market.2019 SMMT new car registrations

During the whole of 2019, sectors that saw significant falls in 2019 were diesels (-21.8%), plug-in hybrids (-17.8%) due to the fall-out from WLTP in 2018 and the discontinuation of certain models. However, the introduction of new PHEVs at the end of the year saw PHEVs leap 21.8% in December.

With the fall in diesel sales, a rise in petrols and SUVs the UK’s average CO2 figure rose 2.7% to 127.9g/km. This comes despite a 144.0% hike in battery electric vehicles to take 1.6% of the market.

The rise in CO2 will make it more difficult for car makers to hit the 95g/km target set by the EU for 2021.

Commenting on the figures Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “A stalling market will hinder industry’s ability to meet stringent new CO2 targets and, importantly, undermine wider environmental goals. We urgently need more supportive policies: investment in infrastructure; broader measures to encourage uptake of the latest, low and zero emission cars; and long-term purchase incentives to put the UK at the forefront of this technological shift.”





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