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Annual UK car market falls but still near 10-year high

Trade body figures show ups and downs for UK new vehicle market.

17_car-stockpile - Peter B - peterb

Waiting for a buyer? Image: Commons

According to the latest figures from auto industry trade body - The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) - overall demand for new vehicles was down by almost 6% in 2017.  But, they were quick to point out that 2.5m vehicles registered last year still makes this the third biggest year for the industry in the past 10 years.

Annual registrations fell for the first time in six years after declining for the ninth consecutive month.  Hardest hit was the business vehicle sector with a drop of nearly 8% at the end of the year.

When it comes to vehicle types, SUVs (dual purpose) continue to dominate, with one in five of every new cars sold in the UK being an SUV - that's twice as many as ten years ago.

The biggest growth, however, has come from the 'alternatively fuelled' vehicle market, with a record number of hybrid, PHEV, EVs and fuel cell cars being registered. The 34% annual growth equating to a share of almost 5% of the overall market.

The 'diesel debate' took its toll, with diesel vehicle registrations down more than 17% as a result of negative publicity regarding poor emissions.  However, the SMMT was keen to point out that the latest generation engines still make diesel the cleanest and most fuel efficient option for longer-distance drivers.

Tags: automotive industry, Europe, OEM Equipment

Published 10th January, 2018

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