Last week I watched an interesting interview on ‘BBC Breakfast News’ with Ike Hawes, CEO, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), interesting but also frustrating, especially as Hawes left me feeling still uncertain about the future of diesel used cars when, as he put it “…uncertainty will gradually lift.”
Getting straight to the point, those of us in the motor trade industry and indeed anybody looking to buy a car, really need some closure or at least a little clarity on this long drawn out issue over the future of diesel used cars. There is still an increasing concern that there will be a ban on ‘used’ diesel cars, but new diesel and petrol cars would not be affected as they are manufactured with new technology.
Let’s look at the statistics below and see if that gives us any clue? Hopefully I have recalled them correctly from the interview; the source is SMMT.
New Versus Used Car Sales Results 2018
New Car Sales
– Down 15.6% in March this year.
– Diesel cars are down by 37%.
– Petrol sales are flat.
Used Car Sales
– This year is the 4th best March ever.
– 8.1 million used cars were sold last year.
– About 1 in 5 we make in the UK is sold in the UK.
The statistics are certainly the interesting part of the interview, with the SMMT confirming that new car sales are down and shockingly, new diesel cars are down almost 40%, but used car sales are up, with March 2017 as our best used car sales year.
So how exactly Mr Hawes, will our uncertainty lift with this conundrum? On one hand new diesel and electric cars mean a way forward towards our pledge for cleaner air, but we’ll have to wait and see if the market recovers and buyers re-engage with diesel or hopefully excel with electric. On the other hand with so much economic uncertainty, buyers are attracted to the used cars market for it’s cheaper vehicles, despite old diesel emissions that are not good for the environment. I wouldn’t think the government would want to further hinder market growth with “greener” pledges until we come out the other-side of Brexit. Hawes explained: “The decline in demand for diesel cars continues to be of concern and the latest tax changes announced by the government do nothing to encourage consumers to exchange their older diesel vehicles for new lower emission models.”
Euro 6 Standards Versus Diesel Used Cars
Uncertainty being the theme of this blog, maybe the white knight for green-house gasses comes in the form of “Euro 6 Standards”? From 20th May 2018 all MOT stations will be required to test petrol and diesel vehicles to new emissions standards. However, With so many of us still looking to buy used cars, how will “my” customers with older used diesel cars pass these new emissions tests? Hopefully our local MOT stations have already equipped themselves with the new kit and I look forward to finding out soon what will make up the new diesel emissions test. Look out for any future blog with an update on Euro 6 Standards.
The interview with Mr Hawes wasn’t statistically positive towards a greener automotive industry, and it wasn’t positive for growth in the manufacture and trading of new vehicles, however news of growth in used car sales does mean that small businesses across the UK will benefit. Small dealerships, local garages, mechanics and parts suppliers, everyone will benefit whilst we ride the economic storm. So whilst Mr Hawes may have left me feeling still uncertain about the future of diesel used cars, I am now certain that I need to write my next blog on “10 Signs to Look for When Buying a Used Car.”