‘Confused’ Buyers Blamed For Slump In New Car Sales

Mon 6th Jan 2020

While the sale of used cars continues with CarSupermarket leading the way with a range of nearly-new options, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reports that sales of new cars have slumped for a third consecutive year.

The SMMT reported a 2.4 per cent drop on new car registrations in 2019, with a total of 2,311,140 vehicles sold.

Diesels were hit the hardest as the much maligned fuel saw a drop off of 22 per cent, with plug-in hybrids also suffering significant decreases in sales of 18 per cent. For the brands it was bad news for SsangYong (29% drop), Smart (47.2% drop) and Alfa Romeo (17.9% drop), though Dacia, MG, Lexus and Porsche all enjoyed a bounce year.

The success of electric vehicles continued, with a 144 per cent rise, though the SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes admitted that confusion over emissions and clean air zones are leading to uncertainty in the market.

He said: "Political and economic uncertainty, and confusing messages on clean air zones have taken their toll on buyer confidence, with demand for new cars at a six-year low.

"A stalling market will hinder industry’s ability to meet stringent new CO2 targets and, importantly, undermine wider environmental goals.

"We urgently need more supportive policies: investment in infrastructure; broader measures to encourage uptake of the latest, low and zero emission cars; and long term purchase incentives to put the UK at the forefront of this technological shift.

"Industry is playing its part with a raft of exciting new models in 2020 and compelling offers but consumers will only respond if economic confidence is strong and the technology affordable."