Only 13 per cent of UK motorists would choose a diesel as their next car, says new research

Time 12:04 pm, April 25, 2018

JUST 13 per cent of drivers in the UK would opt for a diesel as their next car, according to research from Close Brothers Motor Finance.

The shocking figure, which comes after Ford’s UK managing director Andy Barratt told the BBC yesterday that consumers are buying fewer diesel cars, was revealed by the finance firm’s survey, in which it spoke to 200 car dealers and 2,000 motorists in November and December 2017.

The data also revealed that 67 per cent of drivers are less likely to buy a diesel vehicle as a result of industry scandals, such as VW’s dieselgate in 2015.

According to industry body the SMMT, diesel cars were the UK’s vehicle of choice five years ago, taking a 54 per cent market share compared with petrol’s 45 per cent.

That’s no longer the case though, as consumer confidence in the fuel type has been damaged by dieselgate and the British government’s announcement of a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles in 2040, with the market share for diesels now having dropped sharply to 38 per cent.

According to Close Brothers’ ‘Britain Under the Bonnet’ report, 45 per cent of car dealers say their customers are now shunning diesel cars as a result of the negative publicity surrounding them, as well as the vehicle excise duty increase that came into force earlier this month.

Although the 13 per cent figure is a dramatic one, it’s likely that it will be some time before this affects the used car market, with the SMMT showing that new car sales have declined in comparison with used car sales.

Sean Kemple, director of sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, said: ‘The number of days it takes to sell a car has remained static for petrol on used forecourts, with diesel suffering and alternative fuels becoming the forecourt heroes.

‘The ongoing decline in new diesel car registrations since the VW scandal in 2015 and the government’s increased commitment to clean air through banning all fossil fuel cars by 2040 has made for a volatile trading environment, but dealers remain confident.

‘Until this deadline draws closer, there will still be demand for diesel cars, particularly from high-mileage customers who value the fuel economy.’

Tamzen Isacsson, director of the SMMT, said: ‘The latest diesel cars continue to be a popular choice for many drivers, valued for their high performance, lower CO2 levels and lower fuel consumption – especially important to those who travel longer distances.

‘Ongoing manufacturer investment means consumers and businesses have an ever-increasing range of low and zero emission cars to choose from.

‘Consumers should be encouraged to buy the right car for their lifestyle and driving needs irrespective of fuel type – whether that be petrol, electric, hybrid or diesel as it could save them money.’

MORE: Porsche and Audi offices in Germany raided in dieselgate probe

MORE: More than 40 per cent of UK cars are diesels, new figures show

MORE: Consumers ‘sending clear message to car industry’ over diesel engines

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