New car buyers in Wales have bucked the national trend and registered more models than 12 months ago.
Registrations in Wales went up 8.93% in February to 2,610 new cars – 2,396 same time last year – as part of the 79,234 UK total, which was down 2.96% overall.
Scotland suffered the steepest droop of 14.75%, Northern Ireland dipped 8.46% and England slipped 2.01%.
New car registrations slipped back 2.9% last month with a 7.4% fall in private business, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
That is not unexpected on the eve of the new plate and the real winners were the mild hybrid diesel registrations soaring 467.6%, followed by pure battery cars where sales rose 243.1%, while Volkswagen knocked Ford off the top spot with BMW in third place.
Diesel sales are down over 27% and now make up just under 22% of registrations compared to nearly 30% a year ago before the green drive was signalled by HM Government.
|February top ten in Wales
|UK top ten February
BMW 5 Series
James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, said,“Early surveys suggesting consumer confidence has risen to its highest levels since the financial crash have yet to feed into new car sales.
“Big-ticket items like new cars typically sell well when drivers feel reassured about their financial prospects, but the early signs are that some would-be buyers feel their choice of vehicle has been made harder by the Government’s decision to bring forward the ban on sales of new diesel, petrol and hybrid vehicles from 2040 to 2035 – and possibly even to 2032.
“Hopefully the resulting uncertainty surrounding which fuel type drivers should buy will be short-lived, but this concerted push towards electric cars will likely see a greater fall in demand for diesel, petrol, and potentially even hybrids, this year.
“AA Cars’ data confirms that more drivers are already actively considering going electric, and we saw a 54.3% increase in searches on our platform for electric vehicles following the Government’s announcement, but this surge in interest needs to be translated into sales.
“A commitment from the government in this month’s Budget to maintain the EV grant and build the charging infrastructure needed to support electric car growth, may encourage consumers to make the switch, and hopefully help the market settle down.”
Seán Kemple, Director of Sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, added, “Compared to last year’s slight upturn, 2020 hasn’t seen the same solid start to the year with a disappointing 5.8% drop in year-on-year sales.
“Diesel demand continues to plummet, and petrol is also losing steam as buyers are being deterred in the face of a blanket ban. Nevertheless, the Ford Fiesta is holding onto the public vote as the UK’s model of choice, despite increased pressure on petrol. And encouragingly, alternative fuelled vehicles are holding an increasing share of the market, with hybrid sales alone now almost 15%. The growth of AFVs for business and fleet is trickling down into the everyday consumer and fuelling popular demand.
“Crucially, the Budget holds the key to the next boost for the motor industry. For AFVs to be the future, the Government, manufacturers, dealers, and consumers must all work together to achieve the zero emissions goal.”
Infrastructure issues are holding back the roll out of EVs, said Dan Hutson, Head of Motor Insurance, comparethemarket.com .
“Despite a rise in the up-take of alternatively-fuelled vehicles, there needs to be a better infrastructure in place to encourage consumers to go green.
“Our data suggests that the demand for these vehicles will continue to increase in the coming years, with an estimated eight million drivers expected to switch to an electric or hybrid car during the next five years.
“With car sales falling, one clear barrier to getting a new car is the cost. This is particularly true for younger drivers, who have seen the annual cost of running a car increase by £139 in the last six months to £2,370 – a cost which is simply unsustainable for most people ages between 17-24.
“We would encourage the Chancellor to look at scrapping Insurance Premium Tax for young drivers in the forthcoming budget to help them afford the cost of staying on the road.”