Will AFV adoption be fast enough to offset the decline in diesel?
"Car manufacturers may choose not to market the new generation of electric vehicles in the UK if the Government continues to put up barriers." So says Ian Plummer, director of Auto Trader. Plummer was speaking as October’s new car sales figures show the fall-out from the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) hasn’t been limited to September.
“Reducing the OLEV grant is a big step-backwards and will create a major barrier to entry,” he said. “It’s frustrating that this much needed lifeline for the industry is being undermined by the government’s relentless efforts to stigmatise traditional fuel types rather than offering a clear and compelling narrative to switch to electric.
“The reality is, the growing array of exciting new electric vehicles simply won’t come to the UK if consumers have a reduced incentive to buy them, and not only will that harm the market, but the government’s road to zero ambitions too.
“Despite the slowdown there is still expectation that the back end of this year will be stronger than the typical run up to Christmas. As production gets back up to full-swing, and new cars start filtering through, there’ll be a good opportunity for retailers to fulfil their delayed customer orders. However, we’ve seen an increase in nearly new ad views over the last two months, suggesting many consumers have grown impatient waiting, opting instead for a similar used model, which will make it a very tense close to 2018 for new car sales.
“Undoubtedly, it’s been a challenging year for the market, however it remains buoyant thanks largely to two bright spots: the continuing growth in popularity of SUVs and the growing appetite for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs). 4x4s are consistently within the top three body types searched for on our marketplace and they’ve topped the list as the fastest selling used car more often than any other type in 2018. And at a time when sales of new AFVs are seeing unprecedented growth we’re seeing record levels of popularity on Auto Trader. Not only are they the only fuel type to record an increase in consumer searches last month, but in July a Renault Zoe topped the list as the UK's fastest selling used car, which was a first for an all-electric vehicle. Just think what levels of adoption we'd see if the government offered clear incentives for these models.”