There is an elephant on car forecourts, says one industry observer.
The Government must stimulate the switch to hybrids and electric cars with the collapsing sale of diesel and a general slowdown in new car sales, said Alex Buttle, director of car buying comparison website Motorway.co.uk.
“Again flagging diesel sales are the recurring and seemingly unsolvable problem. Petrol and AFVs sales were up again in February, as they were in December and January, but they can’t be expected to compensate for diesel sales slumping 23.5%.
“Diesel’s market share says it all. In February 2017, it had a 44.5% share of the market. Last February, that had fallen almost 10%, down to 35%.”
He went on, “And it’s difficult to see how there will be a change of fortune. The public seems to have made up its mind on diesel and no amount of rhetoric about the latest models being the cleanest in history, seems to be winning them over.
“There’s also an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. Although AFV sales are rising, the uptake simply isn’t fast enough. While hybrid and electric sales were up 7.2% in February, petrol sales were up 14.4%. That should set alarm bells ringing in government but the bells are worryingly silent.”
Alex added that car owners are confused about what they should be doing and what their purchasing choices are across petrol, Euro 6 diesels and AFVs.
“If the Government were more insistent about the need to switch, and started offering subsidies for AFV car purchases, then I’m sure we would see more car owners switching.
“But there’s a lot of silence out there at the moment and very little action, so consumers don’t see any reason to buy AFVs and are sticking to what they know with petrol cars.
“This widespread confusion continues to boost the used car market, as people are either choosing to keep their old car running longer or are upgrading to affordable diesel or petrol cars in the second hand market.”