New passenger car registrations in the UK saw a decline of -15.7 per cent in March with 474,069 units, but that still marked the fourth biggest March ever. Year to date the market is -12.4 per cent down. Demand for petrol cars rose slightly at 0.5 per cent, diesel was down 37.2 per cent and alternative fuel vehicles grew by 5.7 per cent. Overall in 2018, a decline of between 5 and 7 per cent is now predicted.
There is however a robust used car market, with extremely strong sales of used 3-to-5-year-old vehicles being reported. Cap HPI has reported that used car prices have risen by 1.2 per cent since the start of the year. This compared to a drop of 0.7 per cent last year. The previous strongest year was 2014 when values increased by 0.8 per cent.
Retailers in the UK are also reporting strong aftersales demand with more motorists spending money getting their cars serviced and repaired.
The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) in the UK estimates that a decline of 13 per cent in the overall March 2018 market could be attributed to the changes in Vehicle Excise Duty rates introduced in April last year which prompted consumers to pull forward their purchases into March 2017. The NFDA expects the market to start picking up from April and remain steady throughout the remainder of the year.”
Northern Irish market down 18.8 per cent in March
New car sales in Northern Ireland in total was 8,556 units, down from 7,122 in the similar moth last year, a drop of 16.8 per cent. And for the first quarter/year-to-date, the new car market in Northern Ireland is down 9.3 per cent.
Germany market declines too
Registrations in Germany also fell 3.4 per cent in March with the decline in diesel-car sales further accelerating after a court ruled that cities can ban vehicles to tackle pollution.
According to the Federal Motor Vehicle Authority (KBA), the overall new car registrations dropped to 347,433 in the month.
The home brands were hit hard with Opel’s registrations down 24 per cent, and in the executive/luxury brands, Audi’s sales fell by 13 per cent, with BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars both down by 5.4 percent.