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New car registrations predicted to fall to nearly 5 per cent to 2.565 million units in 2017 - and even further in 2018

A line-up of new cars

New car registrations are predicted to fall to 2.565 million units this year – a 4.7% drop on the record figure of 2.693m sales last year.

And the market will fall further in 2018, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which has now downgraded registration predictions for the third time this year.

Economic uncertainty, compounded by Brexit fears, are putting off car buyers.

Plus today’s Bank of England interest rate rise for the first time in more than 10 years, putting the cost of borrowing up from 0.25% to 0.5%, in order to keep inflation in check, is likely to dampen consumer spending further.

In 2018, the SMMT said, registrations will drop 5.4% on 2017 to 2.426m. This represents an approximate market size last seen in 2014 (2.476m units) and will end a run of annual new car sales of five years.

Stability is then expected to return to the market in 2019 with a forecast new car market of 2.397m units.

The SMMT expects diesel sales to fall to 42.5% of the market in 2017, down 15.1% on 2016.

And in 2018, diesel’s market share is forecast to drop to 40.7pc, down 9.4pc on the previous year.

The SMMT makes quarterly forecasts on new car and LCV registrations.


Summary of SMMT forecasts 2017 - 2019 as at October 2017


  • Car registrations at 2.565m units, 4.7% down on 2016’s level of 2.693m.
  • Diesel cars at 1.091m, a 42.5% share of total car registrations; down 15.1% on the 2016 level.
  • LCV registrations at 0.365m units, a 2.8% fall on the 2016 level.



  • Cars registrations at 2.426m, down 5.4% on the 2017 forecast level.
  • Diesel car volume of 0.989m 40.7% of total car registrations; down 9.4% on 2017’s forecast.
  • LCV registrations at 0.361m units, 1.1% down on the 2017 forecast level.



  • Car registrations at 2.397m, down 0.3m and 11% on the 2016 peak level of 2.693m
  • Diesel car total at 0.943m, down 0.340m on the 2016 peak level or 27%
  • LCV registrations at 0.354m, down 22,000 or 5.8% on 2016’s 0.376m peak level


New car registrations 2001 to 2017 YTD

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