Sales of diesel cars have overtaken those of petrol cars for the first time as motorists opt for more fuel-effecient


The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported that diesel car registrations accounted for 50.6% of the market in July while alternative fuel vehicles also achieved record market share with 1.4%.

Petrol car registrations, which had benefitted most from the scrappage scheme, were down sharply.

In total, new car registrations remained up 163,004 units, or 15.1%, over the first seven months of 2010. However, SMMT found that the market in July fell by 13.2% or 20,703 units, "reflecting in part the aftermath of the scrappage scheme, which had contributed to robust volumes over the previous 12 months".

The Ford Fiesta was the best selling model in July, as it was over the year-to-date.

According to SMMT, the outlook is difficult to predict "due to uncertainty over the state of the economy, impact of VAT changes at the start of 2011, levels of pent-up business demand and manufacturers’ ability to build on the past growth momentum".