UK new-car registrations fell by 6.7% in October, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) (www.smmt.co.uk
It said 10,348 fewer cars were registered than in October 2018, “reflecting a tough environment for businesses and consumers, as economic and political uncertainty continued to impact confidence”.
The decline was driven by falling demand from private consumers, with registrations down 13.2%. Business demand also fell, although fleet registrations remained stable at +0.3%.
There was a mixed picture across body types, with the popular super-mini segment experiencing a substantial decline (23.4%), while dual-purpose and small family car registrations grew by 7.1% and 3.3% respectively.
Registrations of diesel cars fell for the 31st month, down 28.3%; petrol cars also declined, by 3.2%.
Bucking the overall trend, electrified cars continued to grow in popularity.
Hybrid electric cars increased by 28.9%, with 7,950 leaving showrooms in October, while registrations of battery electric vehicles almost tripled to 3,162 units.
However, plug-in hybrids fell just short of their positive performance in October 2018, down 1.7%.
Combined, alternatively fuelled vehicle registrations reached a 9.9% market share in October (the highest on record), up from 6.9% last year.
In the first 10 months of 2019, the new-car market was down 2.9%.
Meanwhile, UK new light commercial-vehicle (LCV) registrations fell by 11.0% in October (compared with October 2018), the second consecutive monthly decline.
Some 3,121 fewer models were registered in the month, as uncertainty and regulatory changes continued to affect the market.
Despite October’s negative performance, van registrations in the first 10 months of 2019 remain up (by 3.1%), with 311,989 new vehicles joining UK roads.
The UK new heavy goods vehicle (HGV) market declined by 13.1% in Q3 2019, with 8,557 heavy trucks registered between July and September, as a result of “regulatory changes that saw operators pull purchases forward into the first half of the year”.
The UK new bus and coach market also fell in Q3 2019 (by 26.4%), with 1,340 vehicles registered, marking the eleventh consecutive quarterly decline for the sector, as a combination of “weak business confidence, confusion over clean-air zones, modal shift and tight budgets within local authorities affected order books”.