UK new car registrations were down 3.4% in March, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Demand for petrol cars was up 5.1%, and sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) increased by 7.6% with 25,302 registered, but this was not enough to offset the 21.4% fall in diesel registrations. Petrol cars took a 68.1% market share, with diesel down to 26.3% and AFVs 5.5%.
Demand fell in both the private and business sectors, with registrations down 2.8% and 44.8% respectively, while fleet demand was stable, up 0.3%. Declines were seen across almost every vehicle segment, including popular Dual Purpose (1.8%) and small family cars (4.0%). However, superminis – Britain’s favourite vehicle type – saw a 4.3% increase in demand, taking a third (33.7%) of all registrations.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “March is a key barometer for the new car market, so this fall is of clear concern. While manufacturers continue to invest in exciting models and cutting-edge tech, for the UK to reap the full benefits of these advances, we need a strong market that encourages the adoption of new technology. That means supportive policies, not least on vehicle taxation and incentives, to give buyers the confidence to invest in the new car that best meets their driving needs.”