UK new car registrations fell by 3.0% in November, the latest Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders figures have revealed.

The automotive industry body blamed falling sales on a lack of consumer confidence and supply problems due to the implementation of the WLTP testing regime.

While private registrations dropped by 6.4% during the month compared with November 2017’s figures, fleet registrations only dipped by 0.7%, to 84,431 units, the SMMT said.

Reflecting recent trends, diesel registrations fell by 16.7% during the month, while demand for petrol and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) rose by 3.5% and 24.6% respectively.

Just over 2.2 million vehicles have been registered in the first 11 months of 2018, down by 6.9% compared with the first 11 months of 2017, however, the SMMT said these figures are in line with projections given the current “challenging conditions.”

True fleet registrations dropped by 4.8%

“Model and regulatory changes combined with falling consumer confidence conspired to affect supply and demand in November. The good news is that, as supply constraints ease, and new exciting models come on sale in the months ahead, buyers can look forward to a wide choice of cutting-edge petrol, diesel and electrified cars. It’s now critical that a Brexit deal is secured to boost consumer confidence and provide a stimulus to the new car market as we enter the New Year,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

Ashley Barnett, head of consultancy at Lex Autolease, added: “This has been a challenging year for fleets, with changes to emissions testing and tax regulations making it difficult to plan for the future.  As well as a decline year-on-year, it is no surprise to see registrations are down compared with this time four years ago.  Based on the average 48-month fleet replacement cycle, this indicates that drivers who renewed in Q2 2014 are choosing not to now.  Whether they are moving away from company cars into grey fleet or holding on to older vehicles for longer, progress towards the Road to Zero targets will be slowed as a result.”