UK diesel sales slump by a third in October 2017

Published: 06 November 2017

► UK new car sales slowing up
► Registrations fall 12% in October
► Diesel sales slide by 30% YOY

New car sales figures out today reveal the damage that the Dieselgate emissions scandal has wrought on consumer confidence: sales of diesels to UK buyers have fallen by a third.

Registrations of new diesel cars slumped by 29.9% in October 2017, falling at a much faster rate than the overall market, itself down by 12.2%.

The drop in oil-burners sparked the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) trade body, which collates sales data, to call on the Government to clarify its position on diesel cars.

Many buyers have accused ministers of encouraging the take-up of diesel cars through historic taxation, which encouraged low CO2 vehicles; however, since the VW emissions scandal, the world is seemingly turning against derv.

Petrol or diesel? Our sister site advises buyers which fuel is best

October 2017 new car sales figures: putting it all in context

A total of 158,192 new cars were registered in October 2017, with fewer private buyers and - especially - corporate customers.

October new car registrations 2001-2017

The SMMT is forecasting that 2.565 million vehicles will be sold in 2017, 4.7% down on 2016.

Sales of hybrids and electric cars rose 36.9% in October 2017 - but they still make up a small proportion of the marketplace. Year to date, 102,369 vehicles of 2.2 million were alternatively fuelled vehicles.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: 'Declining business and consumer confidence is undoubtedly affecting demand in the new car market but this is being compounded by confusion over government policy on diesel. Consumers need urgent reassurance that the latest, low emission diesel cars on sale will not face any bans, charges or other restrictions, anywhere in the UK.

'We urge the Government to use the forthcoming Autumn Budget to restore stability to the market, encouraging the purchase of the latest low emission vehicles as fleet renewal is the fastest and most effective way of addressing air quality concerns.'

The bestselling car in October, and throughout 2017 year to date, is the new Ford Fiesta.

The UK's bestselling cars in 2017

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet