UK new car sales slump ahead of Brexit existential threat

New car sales see biggest fall since 2008

However, hopes that hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles could begin to pick up the slack have come to nothing.

Sales grew by about 20% in the United Kingdom previous year versus the explosive growth of almost 40% that was seen across the rest of the European Union, according to new figures released Monday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT).

The biggest volume decline was seen in the diesel sector, down 29.6% in 2018, with the volume loss equivalent to some 180% of the overall market's decline.

Demand this year could also be distorted if Britons expect tariffs to be introduced after Brexit, perhaps pushing up registrations in the first three months of 2019.

The falling market share of diesel cars - which produce less Carbon dioxide than petrol models - is making it harder for manufacturers to meet European Union targets on cutting Carbon dioxide by 2021. Growth in registrations of petrol (+8.7%) and alternatively fuelled vehicles (+20.9%) helped compensate but was not enough to offset the diesel downturn.

In the AFV sector, petrol electric hybrids remained the most popular choice, up +21.3 per cent to 81,156 units.

Registrations dropped 6.8 percent past year to 2.37 million vehicles, the largest fall since sales nosedived 11.3 percent in 2008, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed. She went back to the data, nearly 30 per cent reflecting the development in other countries.

But the SMMT said the biggest challenge for the industry could lie ahead.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: 'A second year of substantial decline is a major concern, as falling consumer confidence, confusing fiscal and policy messages and shortages due to regulatory changes have combined to create a highly turbulent market.

"The industry is facing ever-tougher environmental targets against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty that is weakening demand so these figures should act as a wake-up call for policy makers", Hawes added.

According to the industry data released today, United Kingdom auto sales have fallen for the second year running.

"The supply chain is taking the brunt of the immediate pressure in terms of stockpiling inventory and the next few months are going to critical". It said a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for the industry, because manufacturers need parts to be where they are needed, exactly when they are needed.

He said: "Our own research found that 73% of fleet owners, who experienced the largest decline in new registrations a year ago, believe the Government should do more to support the move to AFVs".

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