Auto Trader's commercial director, Ian Plummer, offers his view on December 2019's - and the year as a whole - new car registration performance from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Ian Plummer, Commercial Director:
“Whilst December’s slight uptick in sales may have closed the year off on a positive note, 2019’s overall disappointing new car performance will come as little surprise to anyone in the industry, especially those at the front line who have had to face the challenge of falling consumer confidence, economic uncertainty and fuel-type confusion, as well as the arrival of added pressures from more stringent emission regulations.
“With alternatively fuelled vehicles, and pure electric vehicles (EVs) in particular, recording such impressive growth in 2019, we can see just how significant an opportunity they present the industry. On our marketplace we recorded a similar trend, with searches for pure EVs increasing 78% since the start of the year. Pure EVs still only represent 1.6% of the market though, so it's hugely disappointing that this potential bright spot is being undermined by the government's removal of the plug-in car grant, which is already having a detrimental impact at a time when the industry is in need of the most support. As part of its pledge to support industry and its environmental commitments, we hope the government takes bigger steps to drive consumer adoption of low-emission vehicles.
“As we look ahead to the new year, we can be optimistic that the renewed consumer confidence following the General Election result will have a relatively positive impact on the market.”