As diesel sales wilt, Green keeps on growing… Diesel vehicles take yet another hit as figures show a 2.8% decrease year on year in February, with electric and petrol standing steady on 7.2% and 14.4% increases.
The industry trade body SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) figures show an obvious knock for diesel and that petrol vehicles sales have and will more than likely continue to rise in 2018.
Overall, this is the 11th consecutive month involving a decrease for Britain’s new car market, with total sales on 80,805 in February 2018, a 2.8% decrease vs the same period last year.
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the SMMT, commented,
“Although the new car market has dipped, it remains at a good level despite the drop in demand for diesel.” Adding, “Consumers should be reassured, however, that the latest cars are the cleanest in history and can help address air quality issues, which is why they are exempt from any restrictions. Looking ahead to the crucial number plate change month of March, we expect a further softening, given March 2017 was a record as registrations were pulled forward to avoid VED changes.”
Bestsellers in February 2018
Unsurprisingly, the top three best sellers remain the country’s favourite city cars, with the Ford Fiesta safely at the top, followed by the VW Golf and the Ford Focus.
February traditionally is one of the quietest months ahead of the March numbers plate change, but there is still a way to go this year. All in all, year to date numbers show that new car sales are down by 5.1%.
Are the green vehicles winning the battle?
With diesel continuing to get a lot of negative press, it is no surprise that alternatives have seen a steady increase. Electric vehicles with a range extender and petrol-electric hybrid seem to be particularly on the up (respectively +8.4% and + 23.3% vs February 2017), as opposed to diesel-electric hybrids (-32%).
Sales of “pure electric” vehicles were also down -26.5% year on year in February. However, despite all of Tesla’s recent issue regarding their batteries, Elon Musk’s new Model3 did top the EV sales chart in February 2018 in the US.
When will environmentally friendly vehicles become more accessible to the public?
More tellingly, can other car manufacturers follow leader Toyota’s tactic and simply stop supplying diesel cars to the UK? The Japanese giant Toyota announced in Geneva earlier this month that they intend to cease supplying diesel vehicles to Europe by the end of 2018. Does this tell the world that their hybrid strategy worked? Hybrid sales are rising, but those numbers when compared to petrol are still small and some put them down to the financial incentives involved with hybrid cars. Can other manufacturers really also stop selling diesel cars to the UK and European markets or do Toyota own the hybrid market with their famous Prius and other hybrid options?