Official figures released today show that ‘alternatively fuelled vehicle’ sales were up 23.9 per cent compared with last January, defying a declining market
Sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles have bucked the overall trend of decline in the new car market for January.
Pure-electric, hybrid and hydrogen models sold 23.9 per cent better than last year with 9,020 new vehicles registered last month. However, with a market share of just 5.5 per cent, it wasn’t enough to offset the 25.6 per cent decline in diesel sales.
This resulted in overall new car registrations being down by 6.3 per cent compared with 2017 to 163,615, driven by increased uncertainty over diesel. The fuel now has a market share of 35.9 per cent, down from 45.2 per cent.
Simon Benson, head of motoring services at AA Cars, comments: “This data is the first real temperature test of the overall health of the new car industry in 2018, and it paints a fairly bleak picture.
“With the market now in its 10th month of decline, motorists are clearly wary about purchasing a new vehicle.
“Demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles rose significantly last month, but this failed to make up for the slowdown in diesel sales.
“Only time will tell whether this trend will continue into March, marking a full year of falling sales. The government needs to act now to incentivise new car buyers back to forecourts before this decline causes real damage.”
Last month, Mikes Hawes, chief executive of industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, warned that there needs to be more investment in alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) for sales to really take off.
He said: “We were disappointed to see in the budget that the extra money for the low-emissions grant would only be eligible for pure electric models because plug-in hybrids have a huge part to play.
“We need to encourage more people into AFVs if we’re to achieve the steady glide down to the cross-fleet CO2 emissions target of 95g/km by 2021.”