New car market down 1.3% in November

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Demand for new cars fell 1.3% last month, the automotive industry said.

Some 2,018 fewer cars were registered in November than during the same month in 2018, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

This maintains the downward trend for new car registrations throughout 2019 as the industry has been hit by weak business and consumer confidence, economic uncertainty and confusion over diesel and clean air zones, the trade association said.

The decline was driven by a 6.1% drop in demand from private consumers.

Sales of diesel models were down 27.2%, while demand for petrol cars grew by 2.0%.

Alternatively fuelled cars such as hybrids and battery electrics took a record market share for the second consecutive month.

More than one in 10 cars joining the UK roads was either hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure electric.

Year-to-date figures show the new car market declined 2.7% during the first 11 months of the year compared with 2018.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “These are challenging times for the UK new car market, with another fall in November reflecting the current climate of uncertainty.

“It’s good news, however, to see registrations of electrified cars surging again, and 2020 will see manufacturers introduce plenty of new, exciting models to give buyers even more choice.

“Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go for these vehicles to become mainstream and, to grow uptake further, we need fiscal incentives, investment in charging infrastructure and a more confident consumer.”