Auto Trader's Commercial Director, Ian Plummer, provides his view on the latest new car registrations from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)
“September and year to date figures have been more positive than was expected but the natural slowdown of the market and continued Brexit anxiety will be weighing heavily on the minds of consumers, brands and retailers.
“As they focus on hitting their annual targets, both manufacturers and retailers have been using tactics – such as self-registrations – to artificially buoy the numbers and overstate the natural level of demand for new cars, because they just aren’t seeing the consumer demand to reach the figures they need to organically.
“This push activity will almost certainly continue next month ahead of the Brexit deadline, as the industry prepares for whatever the 31st has in store.
“Looking ahead, the CAFE (Clear Air for Europe programme) is going to alter messages consumers have become accustomed to about fuel type. Brand new diesels have lower CO2 emissions than their petrol equivalents so, as manufacturers look to avoid steep fines as a result of CAFE rules, and keep their fleet of cars sold under the threshold of total emissions they could even end up having to push diesel sales. And to do that goes completely against current consumer sentiment on fuel types, so they’ll need to incentivise the sale of diesels instead of petrol cars.”