UK Car Sales Suffer Due to Brexit and Diesel Slump
Following a peak of 2.7 million sales in 2016, the UK market has been dropping steadily ever since, and 2019 has shown car sales to be at their lowest for six years.
However, this wasn’t the only disappointment faced by the British motor industry, as figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has shown that carbon emissions are above the current regulatory limits.
Mike Hawes, the chief of SMMT has stated that change in the industry is vital. As well as there being a change to the way vehicles are tested, there has been a drop in the purchase of diesel vehicles, there has also been an increased in the purchasing of sports cars and SUVs.
The International Energy Agency has stated that the increased fuel use of SUVs was the second-largest contributor to co2 emissions between 2010 and 2010.
A New Approach to co2 Emissions Causes Confusion
The lowering of co2 emissions is currently being counteracted by the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) which is an EU standard and replaces the NEDC regulations.
WLTP employs real-world testing as opposed to the tests carried out using lab rigs. Despite the good intentions of WLTP, it can be confusing consumers looking to ensure that they’re purchasing an efficient vehicle.
Prior to September 2017, cars being sold via a dealership would have the old NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) test. During the transition period, cars approved before September 2017 would continue to have co2 emissions reviewed under NEDC.
Cars that are certified under the new WLTP test after September 2017 will have co2 emission values from both tests. Although this sounds straightforward, it can mean that consumers looking for efficient vehicles could find the whole ordeal confusing.
This confusion is amplified further when you consider that there could be more congestion charges for vehicles entering city centres, and if a consumer is unable to ascertain the co2 emissions beforehand, then journeys could become very expensive.
Despite many being under the impression that cars using diesel are detrimental to the environment, the SMMT has stated that several improvements have been made since 2011 that make diesel vehicles more efficient.
While it’s true the diesel engines produce NOx, new diesel vehicles have been fitted with filers to clean up these particles. It’s also worth noting that the European emissions standard, Euro 6, dictates how NOx can be produced.
Brexit injects More Uncertainty into the British Motor Industry
As well as the concerns surrounding the vehicle emission, there are also concerns surrounding the outcome of Brexit. Not only do manufacturers have to ensure that vehicles being manufactured meet the requires of the EU emission guidelines but must hope that the British government is able to strike a deal before departing the EU.
A no-deal Brexit could mean that the sourcing of parts internationally becomes an expensive if not impossible endeavour which will do little to increase the prospects of the British motor industry.
What Is Needed for the Motor Industry to Thrive?
Despite the drop in the sale of diesel vehicles, there has been a surge of internist in alternatively fuelled vehicles such as hybrids. As some of the uncertainty surrounding the industry is due to politics and the outcome of Brexit, it’s important that the British government puts plans in place that helps instil confidence in the market.
The last thing that consumers want to do is purchase a vehicle, only to find that it doesn’t meet with requirements and guidelines moving forward.
The surge of interest in electric vehicles can be considered a good sign that people are keen to lower their emissions, the UK government must ensure that there is confidence among consumers to invest in such technology.
Although the technology is available, the uncertainty of the motor industry as a whole means that manufacturers of electric vehicles are stalling in relation to the UK, simply because the demand is outstripping the vehicles available.
Not only does this cause problems in relation to commerce, but it also means that those searching for a new vehicle feel like they’re being pushed from pillar to post when looking for a vehicle that conforms to the new regulations.
There is a forecast that GDP growth will increase by 1.3%, this is still the lowest since the financial crisis.