Just one in four new cars sold now diesel
The decline in diesel new car sales continued in 2019, with 21.8% fewer diesels sold following a fall of almost 30% in 2018, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Last year, 583,488 diesel cars were sold – almost half the number that were sold in 2017 – leaving the fuel type with a market share of 25.2%, compared to 31.5% in 2018.
There was modest growth in demand for petrol cars, up 2.2%. However, this was not enough to offset the significant decline in diesel registrations.
December marked the 33rd month of diesel decline, with SMMT blaming the continued anti-diesel rhetoric and confusion over clean air zones hit demand. This has resulted in drivers keeping their older, more polluting vehicles on the road for longer, holding back progress towards environmental goals.
Bucking the overall trend, combined alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) registrations surged in 2019 to take a record 7.4% market share. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) continued to dominate this sector, with registrations increasing 17.1% to 97,850 units. Battery electric vehicle (BEV) registrations experienced the biggest percentage growth, rising 144% to 37,850 units and overtaking plug-in hybrids for the first time.
Overall, the UK new car market declined in 2019, with annual registrations falling for the third consecutive year – 2,311,140 units were registered last year. That represented a 2.4% decline, with the SMMT blaming weak business and consumer confidence, general political and economic instability and confusion over clean air zones (CAZs).
In terms of fleet and business registrations, market share remained static – 55.9% in 2019 compared to 55.6% the previous year.