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Vehicles sales drop 20% ahead of VED increases

New car sales plunged 20% in April as consumers tried to avoid a rise in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Despite the drop in sales compared with April 2016, overall new car registrations are up 1.1% for the first four months of the year, to a record 972,092.

The dramatic fall in sales is believed to be due to consumers bringing forward their purchases to avoid VED increases. Petrol and diesel vehicles are subject to a standard rate of £140 per year, following a sliding scale of charges for the first year of ownership. For cars worth over £40,000, there is an additional £310 levy for the first five years of ownership.


What vehicle types were affected?

The figures come from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which revealed 152,076 new cars were registered in April. The drop was seen across all car sales, including for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), which fell for the first time in 47 months.

The biggest fall in demand was among private buyers, with 28.4% fewer registrations. Fleet and business also fell by 12.3% and 21%, respectively. It has been speculated that recent headlines surrounding diesel vehicles may also have been a factor, with a 27.3% drop in diesel sales, compared with 13.1% for petrol vehicles and 1.3% for AFVs.

However, overall registrations for 2017 so far have broken previous records, with a continuing positive trend for all but diesel vehicles, which has dropped 6.4% overall. The best sellers of the year so far include:


  • Ford Fiesta – 43,162
  • Ford Focus – 27,307
  • Vauxhall Corsa – 23,765
  • Nissan Qashqai – 23,501
  • Volkswagen Golf – 22,446
  • Vauxhall Astra – 21,261
  • Mercedes-Benz C Class – 19,238
  • Volkswagen Polo – 18,253
  • Mercedes-Benz A Class – 15,855
  • MINI – 15,417


Visit the SMMT website for further statistics


Can you help stabilise revenue despite sales drop?

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