9% drop in Scottish new vehicle registrations

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Figures from the Scottish Motor Trade Association show that Scotland’s new car registration figures have dropped by over 9% in March to 35,904.

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The SMTA also found that Britain’s new vehicle registrations as a whole also dropped by almost 3% compared to March in 2018. Across the UK as a whole, the total drop was 3.5%.

A challenging month

The figure will be of concern to the industry as March is a particularly important month for car showrooms. The change in number plates typically brings in a wave of new buyers to car showrooms, who have been holding out for the latest releases.

The results have been blamed on the ongoing fears around Brexit. Consumers are noticeably muted when it comes to big ticket item purchases as political uncertainty persists along with concerns about the economy.

Year-end registration figures show a 21% drop in registrations for diesel cars – once touted as being a better choice than petrol fuel cars – and a 6% drop in petrol cars. Motor trade insurance from Quote Me Today still remains vital.

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There is some positive news though, as the demand for electric and alternative fuel cars actually rose – by an impressive 16%.

Diesel concerns

The concern about diesel cars and their impact on air quality has continued to rise. There is also uncertainty about whether the government will place restrictions on cars and extra taxes due to their emissions.

SMTA CEO, Sandy Burgess, said that there was no doubt that the market had softened and that the drop in new car registrations was partly down to the ongoing fears around Brexit’s impact.

He said that the industry was continuing to work hard in the face of a ‘roller coaster’ ride and the attack on consumer confidence as the Brexit confusion continued.

He added that members of the SMTA had continued to show that they were able to operate in a resilient and adaptable way by capturing all opportunities available in other areas, such as after-sales, alternative fuel cars and used cars.

The SMTA has recorded a rising and continued interest in alternative fuel vehicles and they believe that this market segment is set to grow strongly. They believe, however, that efficient and modern diesel cars are clean and still have a future.