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Financial News: UK Car Sales Decline In February: SMMT

UK Car Sales Decline In February: SMMT

03/05/2020 - 05:02:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - UK new car market contracted in February as demand from private buyers weakened again, data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, or SMMT, showed Thursday.

Car registrations declined 2.9 percent on a yearly basis to 79,594 units in February. This is traditionally one of the quietest month ahead of the crucial March number plate change, with the decline driven primarily by subdued consumer confidence and uncertainty over what fuel technology to buy.

Registrations by private buyers were down 7.4 percent, while demand from business surged 29.6 percent.

Further, data showed that demand for both diesel and petrol cars decreased in February, with registrations down 27.1 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively. Now diesel cars account for just over a fifth of sales.

Battery electric vehicle sales surged 243.1 percent and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle sales grew 49.9 percent. Nonetheless, these vehicles still make up just 5.8 percent of the market.

The SMMT urged Chancellor to help more drivers go electric, as new calculations showed removal of VAT alone would boost sales to nearly 1 million over the next five years.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, "To drive the transition to zero emission motoring, we need carrots, not sticks - as the evidence shows, talk of bans and penalties only means people hang on to their older, more polluting vehicles for longer."

It's time for a change of approach, which means encouraging the consumer to invest in the cleanest new car that best suits their needs, he said.

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