SMMT new car registration figures for 2017 have shown a decline for the first time in six years, down 5.7%.
December represented the ninth consecutive month of decline, with new car registrations down 14.4% year-on-year. Brexit, lack of consumer confidence and confusion over negative diesel rhetoric were widely cited as being influencing factors.
Looking at 2017 from a wider perspective, it was in fact a very strong year for new car sales, being the third biggest year in the last decade with over 2.5 million new vehicles being sold.
Although diesel has continued to decline, with December's new registrations down 31% year-on-year, there has been good news for alternatively-fuelled vehicles, which grew 34.8%. A record number of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars were registered, taking their market share up to 4.7%, up from 3.3% during the same period last year.
Demand for petrol vehicles rose by a modest 2.7% year-on-year.