10 Aug 2019

Hybrid and Low Emission Car Sales Stall

Sales of low emission and hybrid cars have fallen in the UK for the first time in two years.

Recently released figures show that sales of plug-in hybrid cars in June were down 50% from the same month last year, while hybrid electric vehicles also slumped by 4.7%.

Put together, these drops in units sold show an overall decline in sales for the alternative fuel sector, the first of its kind since 2017.

While the slow down of sales is likely linked to the government's decision last year to scrap subsidies for hybrid-electric car buyers and reduced the discount available for fully electric vehicles, it is not just the low emission sector that has been hit. In fact, the overall new car market has shrunk by 4.9% from June 2018.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has spoken out over the tumbling sales figures: “Another month of decline is worrying but the fact that sales of alternatively fuelled cars are going into reverse is a grave concern.

"Manufacturers have invested billions to bring these vehicles to market but their efforts are now being undermined by confusing policies and the premature removal of purchase incentives.

The Department of Transport has been quick to allay fears and justify the cuts to subsidies. A spokesperson said: "The plug-in car grant has supported the purchase of 180,000 new cars with over £700m, including 100,000 plug-in hybrids, and the government is now focusing on the cleanest, zero emission models.

"That focus has paid off - with registrations of battery electric vehicles up over 60% this year compared to the same period in 2018."

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