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SMMT forecasts 5.7% new car registrations decline in 2018

Cars parked in car park

The SMMT has increased its forecasted 2018 new car registrations decline from 5.4% to 5.7% in its latest prediction of how the market's performance between now and the end of 2019.

Last month AM reported how the body missed the mark for 2017 by 21.7% – or almost 27,000 vehicles – by predicting a 4.7% market decline in October, a matter of weeks before the market registered a 5.7% decline for the full-year.

But in its latest set of forecasts the SMMT has adjusted its predictions for 2018 by just 0.3ppts in comparison to the projections published in that same set of published figures.

This week’s registration figures for January 2018 revealed that the market was already 6.3% down on 2017, but this may be skewed by last year’s rush to beat new VED road tax legislation introduced in April.

SMMT forecasts for 2019 suggest that registrations will fall another 2.1% to 2.346 million, a reduction on the 2.397 million forecasted in October last year.

The OEM industry body compiles its forecasts from the results of a quarterly survey of its members.

Among the other predictions the latest set of results forecast, was a further decline in diesel car sales to 0.894 million units in 2018.

Diesel’s market share during this year will account for a 37.3% of total car registrations, if the forecast is correct, which is down 30.4% on 2016 and 16.1% down on last year.

In this month’s AM magazine Zeus Capital market analyst Mike Alan said that he anticipated that the immediate outlook for franchised car retailers was “a very difficult first quarter,” adding: “The market will be down by no less than 10% by the end of March.”

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