DIESEL’S dominance of the new car market is well and truly over. Figures for car sales in January (2018) reveal that just over a third of new registrations were diesel, compared with half two years ago.
Overall, registrations last month fell by 6.3%, compared with the same period in 2017, to 163,615 cars. Diesel-powered vehicles accounted for 58,703, a 25.6% drop from the year before (78,905).
The bad news for dealers and the motor industry is that rising sales of petrol-powered and hybrid or electric cars weren’t enough to offset the decline of diesel.
Petrol models saw an 8.5% rise, to 95,892, and ‘alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV)’ grew by 23.9%, to 9,020 – the latter a share of 5.5%.
The lack of business sales – company cars – contributed most to the fall in car sales, with a drop of 29.7%. Private car buyers fell by 9.5%.
The only style of car to record an increase in registrations was the SUV, which now accounts for 20.2% of all new car sales, with the Nissan Qashqai continuing is reign as the most popular model of its type.
The SMMT said the latest figures sound alarm bells for car manufacturers: “Last year, more than two in five of the cars leaving British production lines were diesels, while manufacturers also produced more than 1m engines – directly supporting some 3,350 jobs and, combined with the UK’s petrol engine output, delivering some £8.5bn to the economy.”
Diesel fuel has lurched from one PR disaster to another, following the dieselgate emissions scandal in 2015, when Volkswagen was exposed by American officials over cheating emissions tests for diesel cars.
Recently, VW was embroiled in allegations of controversial laboratory tests that saw monkeys and people exposed to emissions from VW diesel cars. The New York Times claimed the study was an attempt to convince the world that modern diesels weren’t harmful to the environment. However, the cars used in the experiment were also fitted with devices that could cheat emissions tests.