Sales of diesel cars have overtaken gas-run vehicles for the first time.
More diesel cars were sold in Britain last month than their petrol-driven counterparts, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) latest survey revealed. The survey of new car registrations showed that in July diesel cars took a record high 50.6 per cent of the market share after rising 11.8 per cent while petrol car registrations declined by 13.2 per cent.
Sales of alternative fuel vehicles such as hybrids claimed an all-time high of 1.4 per cent after a 52.6 per cent rise.
The weak economy and uncertainty surrounding the Coalition Government’s austerity measures are thought to be the main factors driving down the sale of petrol cars.
Car registrations as a whole were down 13.2 per cent over July as wary consumers held off buying new motors.
Diesel fuel is often up to 20 per cent more efficient than petrol and improvements in diesel car technology, such as the invention in the late 1980s of turbo-charged direct injection (TDI) engines, have also contributed to the rise in popularity of diesel vehicles.
Numbers of Sports Utility Vehicles sold increased also, accounting for one in eight new cars registered in July.
The Ford Fiesta was the best selling model in July, as it was over the year-to-date.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: “A drop in private registrations compared to the scrappage-fuelled months of 2009 was expected and has brought the first market decline for 12 months.
“Subdued consumer confidence and a still fragile economic recovery make the outlook for the remainder of 2010 challenging, but a stronger than expected first half means full-year volumes are still forecast to exceed 2009’s total.”