British new car sales hit recorded low, biggest drop since 2009 last year, due to uncertainty over potential new diesel charges and weakening consumer confidence since Brexit.
It fell more than 5.0 per cent, first time in six years, in 2017 with demand for diesel cars plunging by almost a fifth, reports Reuters.
Registrations ended 2017 at around 2.54 million vehicles, according to provisional data, and are set to fall up to 7.0 per cent this year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said.
Demand for diesel cars fell 17 per cent as consumers were put off by potential new charges, pushing up average CO2 emissions for new cars for the first time in two decades as some switched to petrol.
Last year’s drop in total sales is the biggest since demand nosedived in 2009 in the wake of the financial crisis, but comes after two years of record highs in 2015 and 2016.
Sales in December fell 13.9 per cent and SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said further declines were likely over the next few months.
Britain’s automotive sector is also concerned its cars could face tariffs of up to 10 per cent and be hit by customs delays if the government fails to strike the right Brexit deal.
Honda is one of several carmakers considering contingency plans involving possible extra warehousing and stockpiling of parts and has said it needs clarity by March on a transitional deal.
Hawes said any additional cost borne by British plants could hit the sector.