New vehicle sales in UK drop as Europe sees steady growth

Time 2:10 pm, December 20, 2017

THE UK was one of only four European countries to see a reduction in new car sales last month, a report has found.

The country saw an 11.2 per cent decrease in sales from November 2016, despite having the third most new car registrations (163,541) last month, with only France (179,125) and Germany (302,636) ahead of it.

The decrease puts the UK in a perilous position of finishing the year five per cent down on 2016 record-breaking figure of 2,514,764.

Nevertheless, the report by data collecting company JATO, noted that European car registrations totalled 1,250,281 units, an increase of 5.2 per cent compared to last year.

France, Spain and Germany, along with the Netherlands and Austria, experienced the biggest increases, off-setting the decline in the UK.

Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst, at JATO said: ‘Despite the upheaval it faces with new emissions targets, Brexit, and the diesel crisis, increasing demand for SUVs has allowed the automotive industry to continue to grow in Europe.

‘Looking ahead to the future, it is clear that manufacturers will increasingly see the SUV segment as a means of growth in a tough market, and as a consequence, SUVs will take market share away from more traditional segments.’

The report also noted that despite a turbulent 2017 for the industry, which has faced threats from the diesel crisis, new emissions targets and Brexit, results for the first eleven months of the year show an overall increase in registrations of 3.8 per cent, with 14.43 million units registered.

Growth, JATO adds, was driven by the ever-increasing demand for SUVs. This resulted in a 21.6 per cent increase to almost 400,000 units. SUVs now make up 31.9 per cent of the market.

Latvia and Estonia held their positions as the European countries where SUVs are most popular, with shares of 44.1 per cent and 39.5 per cent respectively.

By Will Rimell

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