CEO Update

Mixed messages are confusing for consumers and manufacturers alike

09 November 2018 #CEO Update

October registration figures were released this week, and they were as unpredictable as we’ve come to expect so far in 2018. There has been a significant amount of upheaval in the new car market this year with VED changes, regulation updates and consumer confusion over diesel that have all had an impact in different ways.

It was certainly positive to see registration numbers for hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles up by nearly a third in October. But our latest forecast figures show that despite the impressive increase, the outlook for the future market share of alternatively fuelled vehicles is falling behind government ambitions.

If we are to reach bold targets to replace purely petrol and diesel powertrains entirely with zero-emission-capable cars by 2040, then consumers need to hear a positive message from political leaders around this still-emerging technology. Cutting the plug-in grant is going to depress demand for plug-in cars at the moment when we need quite the opposite.

We always speak for our members first and foremost, so we are looking forward to the chance to contribute to the government’s upcoming review of the impact of WLTP on vehicle taxation. We particularly want to ensure that buyers of the cleanest and most up-to-date cars are not unfairly penalised, or else we are going to see older, more polluting cars remain on the road for longer.

The most recent emissions figures from the Department for Transport show that the average CO2 figures for new cars registered in September rose to levels not seen since July 2013. This is a direct consequence of negative diesel policies and underlines the importance of a balanced UK road fleet where motorists use the cleanest technology that best suits their driving needs.

The latest Westminster rumours suggest that we are going to see the final draft of the UK-EU Brexit agreement published in the next few days. We know government understands the importance of our sector and its needs, and we can only hope that the deal covers what we’ve been stressing all along, which is the vital importance of frictionless trade and a seamless transition for industry.