The SMMT figures this morning show a 6.7% fall in new car registrations in October.
They do not tell the whole story though, says an industry watcher.
“But these don’t tell the full story. Once again, electric and hybrid vehicles are the big winners. Battery Electric Vehicles saw a 236% increase in September, and a 151.8% rise in October. We’re hearing of massive demand for alternative fuel vehicles, where manufacturers are finding it challenging to keep up and delivery times are taking longer than usual.
“It’s important, also, not to underestimate the considerable impact of fleet drivers. The announcement around Benefit in Kind going to 0% from April 2020 on pure electric vehicles is starting to have a significant impact. Lack of clarity had left company car drivers on their own, and consequently we saw many putting off a new purchase until the picture became clearer. Now that it is, drivers can see what the new year will look like, and are moving into a different type of vehicle that will save money and reduce their company’s overall carbon footprint.”
With the current climate of uncertainty continuing to affect businesses and consumers, the decline in new car sales shows, said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK.
The new car market declined by -6.7% in October with 143,251 units registered. Year to date, the market is -2.9 down from last year. Sales of pure electric cars rose 151.8% , petrol was down -3.2% and diesel declined -28.3%.
Robinson added, “It is encouraging to see demand for pure electric vehicles expand despite challenges. Not only electric vehicles but also the latest petrol and diesel cars are facing supply constraints which will improve as we approach 2020.
“Franchised retailers are making significant investments in their online strategy as well as their dealerships to ensure a platform for future growth and offset consumer uncertainty. We expect a relatively quiet last quarter of the year with a solid used car sector continuing to help counterbalance the decline in new car sales”.