Bad luck if you’re in car sales, because according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), sales for April’s new registrations show a drop of nearly 20% compared to April 2016.
But it’s not quite the Road to Hell for the car industry just yet, as overall sales for the first four months of the year are actually up by just over 1%. Industry experts said they expected April sales to be lower as drivers steered away from registering new vehicles because of the new car tax (or vehicle excise duty, VED) rules that came into effect.
The new tax rules mean that how much you pay in the first year of your car’s life depends on its CO2 emissions, and only the squeakiest of clean cars with zero emissions are relieved from VED. It’s thought that this is the reason behind the fall in people buying alternatively fuelled cars in April.
After that first year, there’s a standard car tax for all cars of £140. But it’s commiserations for anyone with a car that cost more than £40,000, because owners of these whoppers will have to pay an additional £310 every year for five years, on top of the £140.
Plus, it seems all the bad air about diesels has also translated into fewer diesel car sales, as figures for April this year were down against the same period in 2016 by more than a quarter (27.3%); that adds up to nearly 30,000 diesel cars languishing on dealer forecourts.
But it’s not just alternative fuel and diesels that have taken a bashing. The number of privately bought cars are also down on the month and the year – a decline of 28.4% and 2.2% respectively. This drop has been largely put down to the imbalance between salaries and price rises. The SMMT’s car statistics show that the 1.1% year-on-year increase in car sales has come from fleet and business buyers. Although numbers are down on the month, fleet car sales were up by 4.2% year on year and business purchases up by 3.2%.
So, while fleet and business drivers can enjoy the smell of new car upholstery, the rest of us will just have to make do with air fresheners. Of course, there’s no getting over the fact that no matter how old your car is, it’s still expensive to buy, to run and to maintain. Which is why we’re here – to help you save on your car insurance. Whether it’s tips and advice on bringing costs down, to making sure you get value for money, trust us to steer you in the right direction.