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New car market minor decline anticipated due to record August last year

NFDA 05/09/2019

“The minor decline in new car sales was highly anticipated as these figures were against a record August in 2018 boosted by the introduction of the WLTP emission regulation”, 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 new passenger car registration figures.

New passenger car registrations declined by -1.6% in August with a total of 92,573 units registered. Year to date, the market is -3.4% down to 1,519,016 units. Pure electric vehicles rose by 377.5%, registrations of diesel cars declined by -12.2%, petrol rose by 1.0%.

Last year, registrations were unusually high primarily due to the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test (WLTP) that came into effect in September and pushed consumers to bring forward their new car purchases. On 1 September 2019, the Real Driving Emission (RDE) regulation came into force to complement WLTP.

Robinson continued, “Although the introduction of the new Real Driving Emission testing from September should not have as strong effects on the market as WLTP last year, especially thanks to the one-year derogation granted by the Government*, the market may remain slightly distorted over the next months.

“Positively, sales of pure electric vehicles continued to rise: franchised retailers are making important efforts and investments to meet the fast growing consumer demand for EVs despite supply constraints. There are attractive deals on the market for vehicles of all fuel types, but the current, uncertain political climate undermines consumer confidence.

“NFDA will continue to support franchised retailers during the important plate-change month of September”.


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*In June, the Government granted a one-year derogation for non-RDE compliant vehicles manufactured at least three months before the implementation deadline.

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.