LONDON (Reuters) – British new automotive gross sales recorded their largest drop since 2009 final 12 months, falling by greater than 5 % on account of uncertainty over potential new diesel expenses and weakening shopper confidence since Brexit, an business physique stated on Friday.
Registrations ended 2017 at round 2.54 million autos, based on provisional information, and are set to fall as much as 7 % this 12 months, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) stated.
Demand for diesel vehicles fell 17 % as customers had been delay by potential new expenses, pushing up common CO2 emissions for brand spanking new vehicles for the primary time in 20 years as some switched to petrol.
Last 12 months’s drop in complete gross sales is the most important since demand nosedived in 2009 within the wake of the monetary disaster, however comes after two years of report highs in 2015 and 2016.
Sales in December fell 13.9 % and SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes stated additional declines had been probably over the subsequent few months.
“The two main reasons are business-led and consumer confidence and the confusion around diesel which has caused hold-off,” he stated of final 12 months’s fall.
“The first quarter is going to be tough and March (last year) in particular was an all-time record month. We ain’t going to get that next March.”
Britain’s automotive sector can be involved its vehicles might face tariffs of as much as 10 % and be hit by customs delays if the government fails to strike the precise Brexit deal.
There are funding selections that are pending as corporations await clarification on the phrases of a transitional deal which is able to bridge Britain’s exit from the EU in March 2019 into a brand new relationship with the bloc, Hawes stated.
“Some of those decisions are overdue, they need clarity urgently and certainly the turn of the first quarter is what they have been saying to me,” he stated.
Honda is considered one of a number of carmakers contemplating contingency plans involving doable further warehousing and stockpiling of components and has stated it wants readability by March on a transitional deal.
Hawes stated any further price borne by British vegetation might hit the sector.
“That’s the thin end of the wedge … How do you secure that next piece of investment when you’re less competitive because you’ve got to warehouse?”