Ian Plummer of Auto Trader predicted that the British new car market will remain relative robust during the second half of 2018 despite uncertainty over Brexit, fuel and emission regulations.
Ian Plummer, Director at Auto Trader, reacted to lower new car sales reports for Britain in June 2018 by predicting a relative strong second half of 2018 with uncertainty over new emission testing regimes – WLTP or Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure – a major concern to disrupt the industry. Uncertainty over Brexit and fuel regulations are also a negative influence on the British new car market.
Diesel and AFV Car Sales in Britain in 2018
“Every month seems to bring more negative news about diesel, but the bright spot for the industry in June’s figures is that electric and hybrid sales are really starting to gain traction and pick up some of the slack. If current trends continue, it probably won’t be much more than a couple of years until AFVs overtake diesel in sales volumes.
“AFV registrations in June were 15,549, still well below the 74,361 diesels but 45% up on last year – and the rate of growth is accelerating. AFV now accounts for 6.6% of all new car sales.
“Looking ahead, there is a healthy pipeline of very impressive ‘second generation’ hybrid and electric models coming into the market over the next year, which will provide more choice for consumers considering a switch. Combined with new charging infrastructure being installed across the country, demand for electric is likely to grow at an ever-faster pace.”
Auto Trader Reaction to Car Sales in Britain in June 2018
“After a few months of lumpy year-on-year figures and difficult comparisons due to the 2017 changes to Vehicle Excise Duty, the figures from June are showing us more of the underlying market trend – and should be read as broadly positive for the market. It’s still a tough environment with ongoing uncertainty around Brexit and fuel regulation, but with the retail channel roughly flat in the month, it’s clear that strong promotional activity is working to offset this and draw consumers onto forecourts.
“The overall market performance is relatively good, particularly given that the majority of the decline came in the rental channel. This is a high cost, low margin channel which has been made less profitable and less attractive for manufacturers by the unfavourable exchange rate.
Auto Trader Predictions on the British New Car Market in Second Half of 2018
“The forecast for the full year suggests a reasonably strong H2 despite continued uncertainty, but the new emissions testing regime – WLTP or Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure – will disrupt typical seasonal sales patterns and could make for a quite unpredictable 6 months for retailers.
“September is always a strong sales month following the plate change, but this year we are likely to see heavy promotional activity in August to clear non-WLTP tested stock, followed by lower than usual sales in September, and then a bit of catch up played in the Autumn as the new WLTP-ready stock becomes more fully available.”
- June 2018 New Passenger Vehicle Registration Data Released by the SMMT
- 2018 (Half Year) Britain: Best-Selling Car Brands and Models