‘All eyes on AFVs’ as new car registrations decline 4.6% in May

New car registrations dipped further into decline as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) recorded a further 4.6% fall during May – leaving the UK’s total sales 3.1% down year-to-date.

A total of 183,724 units were registered last month as petrol and alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) vehicles each recorded increases – of 1% and 11.7% – but diesel registrations suffered an 18.3% slump as the fuel type suffered its 26th successive month of decline.

The SMMT said that the fall reflects continued uncertainty over diesel and clean air zones as well as the removal of incentives for plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Petrol electric hybrids experienced increased demand, up 34.6% to 7,785 units, as fully electric vehicles (EVs) recorded a significant rise of 81.1%.

Full EVs still only represent 1.1% of the overall market, however.

Plug-in hybrids, meanwhile, appear to have fallen dramatically out of favour with new car buyers.

Another substantial decline of 40.6% in May left plug-in hybrid registrations 25.1% down year-to-date.

The SMMT said: “This compares with a 36.2% increase in the first five months of 2018 and is further evidence of the removal of the purchase incentive for PHEVs.”

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “Confusing policy messages and changes to incentives continue to affect consumer and business confidence, causing drivers to keep hold of their older, more polluting vehicles for longer.

“New cars are safer, cleaner and more advanced than ever and, with sophisticated safety, efficiency and comfort features as well as a host of attractive deals on offer, there has never been a better time to invest in a new car.”

[source: Automotive Management online]