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Slight uplift in new car sales after five-month decline
06 March, 2019
ford fiesta

The UK’s new car market grew marginally in February, up 1.4% following five straight months of decline, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A total of 81,969 new cars were registered on UK roads in the month (a year-on-year uplift of 1,164 units), traditionally one of the quietest of the year, ahead of the March plate change.

Demand for diesel cars fell again, but the decline of 14.3% (to 24,284 and market share of 29.6%) was not as severe as in recent months. Petrol continued to grow, up 8.3% to 53,164 and a market share of 64.9%.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles continued to surge, up 34.0% and marking the 22nd consecutive month of growth for the segment, but their 4,521 units still only represented a market share of 5.5%. Registrations of zero-emission electric cars more than doubled to 731 units, although they still accounted for less than 1% of the market (0.9%).

Meanwhile, in the four months since the Government removed its grant from plug-in hybrids, the market for these vehicles has only grown 1.7%, compared with 29.5% over the first 10 months of 2018.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “It’s encouraging to see market growth in February, albeit marginal, especially for electrified models. Car makers have made huge commitments to bring to market an ever-increasing range of exciting zero- and ultra-low-emission vehicles and give buyers greater choice.

“These cars still only account for a fraction of the overall market, however, so if the UK is to achieve its electrification ambitions, a world-class package of incentives and infrastructure is needed. The recent removal of the plug-in car grant from plug-in hybrids was a backward step and sends entirely the wrong message. Supportive, not punitive measures are needed, else ambitions will never be realised.”

As the Government is urged to publish its plans for E10 by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Bioethanol, would you welcome the introduction of E10 as the right next step in cutting automotive carbon emissions?