UK new car registrations declined by -3.4% last month, as political and economic uncertainty and continuing confusion over diesel affected demand. March is a crucial month for the new car market, as the plate change drives buyers into showrooms, with new car demand often seen as a bellwether for consumer confidence and the health of the wider economy.

Demand fell in both the private and business sectors, with registrations down -2.8% and -44.8% respectively, while fleet demand was stable, up 0.3%. Declines were seen across almost every vehicle segment, including popular Dual Purpose (-1.8%) and small family cars (-4.0%). However, superminis – Britain’s favourite vehicle type – saw a 4.3% increase in demand, taking a third (33.7%) of all registrations.

Following the trend of recent months, diesel registrations fell -21.4% while petrol demand grew 5.1%. Meanwhile, demand for Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles (AFVs) increased by 7.6% with 25,302 registered, the biggest March volume on record. With almost 40 plug-in models on the market in the UK, and over 20 more expected to arrive in 2019, demand for these new technologies is expected to continue to grow.

Image source: SMMT