Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has shown that, for the first time since 2011, new car sales are down with a 5.7% drop compared to 2016 and the Government’s negativity about diesel cars is being blamed for this.
The stats to prove it
This blame is backed up by statistics which show that diesel sales were down by 17% in 2017 and it is thought that this is due to consumers being put off by new taxes which have been brought in for this particular type of vehicle.
Sales of unleaded vehicles were up by 2.8% and electric and hybrid cars gained a market share of around 4.7% which shows that people are moving away from purchasing those which run on diesel.
2.54 million new cars were bought in 2017 compared to 2.69 million which were purchased in 2016 with April seeing the worst monthly year on year drop at 19.8% and December completing the year with the second highest decline at 13.9%.
December also saw the biggest fall in new diesel registrations as these were down by 31.1%, which equates to around 220,000 vehicles, and these sales were also down by approximately 30% in October and November.
What effect is it having?
This drop in diesel sales isn’t only bad for car manufacturers, but it is also having a negative effect on the environment. In fact, we have seen the first rise in emission levels since records began around 20 years ago which is devastating news for those who have been working so hard to reduce these over the years.
It is no secret that consumer confidence has fallen when it comes to diesel vehicles, especially when the Government keep introducing new money making taxes which penalise those who drive them, including changes to vehicle excise duty, London’s toxicity tax, and a threat to ban diesels from ‘clean air zones’ across the UK.
Philip Hammond’s November Budget also dealt a blow to those considering a diesel car as he announced that anyone who bought one after April 2018 would face a higher tax band which could result in a £500 increase, suggesting that sales of diesel cars will surely continue to fall.
Despite manufacturers best efforts
Despite car manufacturer’s attempts to tempt people to purchase new cars through scrappage schemes, most of which are available until the end of March 2018, this did not do enough to boost sales with many people preferring to hang onto their old car than to risk paying increased taxes on a newer, more eco-friendly model.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes has said that this will not only increase running costs for motorists but will also prevent the country from meeting its environmental goals due to the emissions being produced. He also said that he believes that people should be able to choose the car which suits their lifestyle, whether this be a petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric model.
Who suffered the worst?
There are some car manufacturers which have been hit harder than others due to these reduced vehicle sales. Vauxhall saw a 22.2% decline with 55,818 fewer cars being sold in 2017 compared to 2016, however they are the second most bought car brand with total sales of 250,955. Fiat suffered 16,000 fewer sales which equates to 27%, but Volkswagen saw their sales increase from 207,028 to 208,462 despite being at the centre of 2015’s emissions cheat scandal, and is the 3rd most popular car brand in the UK.
As in previous years, Ford have come out on top as being the number one car brand in the UK and selling the first and third most bought cars in 2017: the Fiesta which was sold to 94,533 buyers and the Focus which saw sales of 69,903. The 2nd bestselling car was the Volkswagen Gold with sales of 74,605 for the year.
With so much negativity surrounding diesel cars it is unsurprising that consumer are both cautious and confused, so it may be time for the Government to start making their messaging a little clearer so people can be confident when choosing the car that best suits them.
Did you buy a new car in 2017? Are you being put off buying a diesel car with recent events? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
My concerns around purchasing a new diesel car is what will happen when I come to part exchange it a few years down the line? Will diesels continue to be vilified resulting in not being able to resell it or the price depreciating so much that I can’t afford to replace it?
I think all these governments have dropped a bollock over this diesel, some silly little twat professor locked away in a dungeon office came up with this silly idea that diesel is bad for you while pulling himself off while looking at a picture of Mrs. Thatcher, there is NOTHING wrong with diesel in a properly ventilated area, of cause these big towns and city centres have high readings, it’s about time these cities opened up their streets and roads, start demolishing open up your roads, stop building all these sky scraper buildings, let some air get into your cities, stop molly coddling all these old buildings that are dropping to bits, knock them down, they have got to come down one day so stop wasting loads of money on them and open up and let the air in and stop blaming diesel, it’s the councils that are to blame for all this pollution NOT the vehicle drivers.
I think it could also be negatively affected by the blanket 140 pound tax for all cars taking away the incentive to buy green cars.Environmentally-unfriendly cars are now more attractive and surely this must have a negative effect on our green goals–silly really
The truth hurts, DIEsel is dead! Diesel is the problem not the solution.
The problem isn’t diesel per se; it’s elderly HGVs, PSVs and taxis in particular pumping out huge amounts of particulates. EU6 compliant diesels are clean and efficient.
Though I agree with you, All diesels are far more harmful to humans than petrols. Diesel engines produce 40 times more NOX than the petrol counter part.
Most people believe that Diesel cars will be outlawed within the next year. If you tow a caravan it will be years before an electric vehicle is available to tow over 1500 kg. Even today you are limited in a choice of petrol cars that tow heavier caravans. What is interesting the increase in emissions. What will they be in 2 years with less diesels sold?
This is not correct my Electric vehicle tows 2000kg without any issue. Do your research first!
Sales may have dropped but the prices of the new cars have not.
We normally replace our cars on a 3-4 yearly cycle, but government manipulation of the market has put paid to that. If bought today, our current cars would cost an extra £450 a year to tax. Net result is that we plan to keep both cars indefinitely. The SMMT was caught napping on this and the industry has only itself to blame.
The people who dream up these schemes and ideas to tax the motorist have “brains of a rocking horse” it is obvious they know nothing. The 20 mile an hour speed limits councils are keen to bring in means that most vehicles are crawling along in 2nd or 3rd gear pumping out more pollution. The very thing the government give as a reason for deterring people from buying Diesel vehicles. Now its been proved Petrol are making more pollution. Do they really care or just trying to make a name for themselves?
I couldn’t agree more, Michael. The motorist is simply treated as a mobile cash machine for local authorities and HMG – the same government that spends £13bn a year on overseas aid while its own citizens lie dying in hospital corridors. It’s all short-term thinking and making themselves look good. And there’s no credible alternative to the existing bunch. Corbyn would bankrupt the country and we’d need an IMF bailout in 18 months.
Petrol may produce a little bit more CO2, however they produce 40 times less NOX. NOX is the most harmful to humans. So we need DIEsel off the road as quickly as possible!
the GOV increasing the VED on all new cars is what has done this. that and the gap between current electrics and fossil fuel convenience.
Com on lets not blame the Government for its negativity on Diesel. Despite their amazing reversal on Diesel I would not blame the Government. How about the rigging of emissions the Nox particles etc. How about European car Manufacturers somewhat subsidised by European Governments somewhat opaque about not only emmissions but fuel efficiency mpg also. How about poor car buyers thinking I am tired of being ripped off lied to and generally being treated as a cash cow by everyone and just fed up to the back teeth. I am surprised it took so long nd expect it to get even lower next year.