Automotive registrations plunged in March, in response to figures from business physique the Society of Motor Producers and Merchants (SMMT).
Preliminary information reveals the UK new automotive market shrank by 15.6% final month, in contrast with March 2017.
Demand for diesel autos fell by 37%, however petrol automotive demand rose by 1%.
Nonetheless, March 2017 was a file month as shoppers and companies snapped up new autos forward of a change in Automobile Excise Responsibility the subsequent month.
The complete information might be revealed afterward Thursday morning by the SMMT.
New automotive gross sales fell for the primary time in six years in 2017, with a 5.7% lower to about 2.5 million autos.
Demand for diesel vehicles plunged by 17% final 12 months, which means the tempo of decline for such autos in March has greater than doubled.
At first look, this seems like deeply worrying information for the automotive business. However it it is price remembering that in March 2017 new automotive registrations hit a file excessive. Consumers had been speeding to pay money for new autos forward of huge modifications to the car excise responsibility regime, which sharply elevated the charges payable on some vehicles.
So a direct comparability between March 2017 and final month may very well be a bit deceptive. However we will say with certainty that registrations have now been falling steadily for a complete calendar 12 months. The SMMT has constantly blamed financial uncertainty, which it hyperlinks to Brexit – and the collapse in diesel gross sales.
These elements nonetheless apply – and the newest figures present that the transfer away from diesel appears to have accelerated. That implies that the business’s makes an attempt to persuade shoppers and politicians that trendy diesels are clear and have a future are failing badly.
By historic requirements new automotive registrations are nonetheless at fairly excessive ranges. The steep fall in March could be a glitch. Nonetheless, the general development can’t be ignored – and that’s what the business might be fearful about.