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New car market declines in 2018 as challenges impact sales

NFDA 07/01/2019

“December’s figures show that the new car market declined by -6.8% in 2018 largely due to the introduction of the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP)* in September which affected sales in the last quarter of the year”, said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK commenting on the latest SMMT’s new passenger car registration figures.

New passenger car registrations declined by -5.5% in December with 152,473 units registered. Year to date, the market closed 2018 with a decline of -6.8% from last year with 2,367,147 new cars registered. In December, sales of petrol cars rose by 7.2%, diesel was down -26.3% and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) grew by 6.1%. Yearly, AFVs were up 20.9%.

Robinson continued, “The substantial growth of the plug-in electric vehicles sector is encouraging and the improving supply dynamics of the EV market are likely to drive innovation and growth in the sector.

“2018 was a very positive year for the used car market and we expect it to remain strong in 2019 continuing to provide franchised retailers with a key opportunity to boost profitability. 

“We look forward to seeing what 2019 has in store as the effects of WLTP ease, stock supply improves, and the political environment becomes more stable”. 

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*WLTP came into effect for all new cars in September 2018 and replaced the previous New European Driving Cycle (NEDC)

About the RMI

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.