The number of new cars sold in the UK in January fell by 6.3% compared with last year, as buyers continue to avoid buying new diesel cars.
More than 163,500 cars were sold in the first month of 2018, but sales of diesel cars declined by more than 25%, meaning such cars now account for just 35% of the market. That drop can partly be blamed on the continuing uncertainty surrounding new diesel cars – including the new tax implications announced in November's autumn budget.
While sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles – which include hybrids and electric cars – were up by 23% compared with January 2017, they still account for a small percentage of the total market at just 5.5%. The SUV market was the only segment to grow in January, showing the continuing popularity of these cars, while the biggest declines hit MPVs and executive cars.
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Mike Hawes said: "The ongoing and substantial decline in new diesel car registrations is concerning, particularly since the evidence indicates consumers and businesses are not switching into alternative technologies but keeping their older cars running.
"We need government policy to encourage take-up of the latest advanced low-emission diesels as, for many drivers, they remain the right choice economically and environmentally.”
Click through this slideshow to see the top 10 best-selling new cars in the UK for January.