Diesels down but AFVs up as car market declined in 2017

Published:  05 January, 2018

Car sales were down 5.7% in 2017, with diesel vehicles seeing one of the biggest drops according to annual sales figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).).

Annual registrations fell for the first time in six years, reaching a total of 2,540,617 for the year. Despite the drop, 2017 still had the third highest car sales of any year in the last decade. December’s sales were   14.4% down compared with the same month in 2016. This was the ninth consecutive month of negative growth.

 Demand for petrol cars rose in the year by 2.7%. However, this was not enough to offset a 17.1% decline in diesel registrations.

Meanwhile, Sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles grew by 34.8%. A record number of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars were registered – resulting in the sector’s highest-ever annual market share of 4.7%. 

The top selling car in the UK during 2017 was the Ford Fiesta, which sold 94,533 units. Second was the Volkswagen Golf with 74,605 sold during the year. Ford was also in third place with the Focus which sold 69,903 in 2017.

2017 car sales figures breakdown SMMT

Commenting on 2017’s sales figures, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The decline in the new car market is concerning but it’s important to remember demand remains at historically high levels. More than 2.5 million people drove away in a new car last year, benefitting from the latest, safest, cleanest and most fuel efficient technology.”

Despite the overall decline, new car registrations remain high, with the market still the second biggest in the EU, behind Germany.

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