UK new car registrations fall in 2019

LONDON (Xinhua) – British new car registrations fell in 2019 amid political and economic uncertainty, with annual registrations dropping for the third consecutive year, according to figures released yesterday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Data showed that new car registrations in Britain slid to 2,311,140 units in 2019, a drop of 2.4 per cent from 2018.

“The turbulent market reacted to weak business and consumer confidence, general political and economic instability and confusion over clean air zones,” said SMMT.

Despite an overall fall, combined alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) registrations surged in 2019, representing a record 7.4 per cent market share.

Figures showed that hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) continued to dominate the sector, with registrations rising by 17.1 per cent to 97,850 units. Battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations saw the biggest percentage growth, increasing by 144.0 per cent to 37,850 units and overtaking plug-in hybrids for the first time.

“Despite the overall decline in 2019, the United Kingdom (Uk) car market remains the second biggest in the European Union (EU), behind Germany,” stated SMMT.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of SMMT, said, “A third year of decline for the UK new car market is a significant concern for industry and the wider economy. Political and economic uncertainty and confusing messages on clean air zones have taken their toll on buyer confidence, with demand for new cars at a six-year low.”

“A stalling market will hinder industry’s ability to meet stringent new CO2 targets and, importantly, undermine wider environmental goals,” added Hawes.

“We urgently need more supportive policies: investment in infrastructure; broader measures to encourage uptake of the latest, low and zero emission cars; and long term purchase incentives to put the UK at the forefront of this technological shift,” Hawes said.