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WLTP impact on fleet registrations starts to level out

Fleet new car registrations fell for the third month running in November but the slowdown in the decline indicates that the impact of the switch to WLTP is tailing off.

Fleet registrations were down 0.7% in November

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show fleet registrations were down 0.7% last month, still reflecting the supply constraints seen following the 1 September introduction of the WLTP testing cycle, as well as uncertainty over future BiK and VED rates, but less severe than the 5.2% decline seen in October’s registrations and the 22.4% in September.

The highest decline in November was seen in private registrations, which fell 6.4%. Conversely, sub-25 ‘Business’ registrations were up 8.6%. Overall new car registrations were down 3.0% to 158,639 units.

Diesel registrations continued to be hard hit, declining 16.7%, while demand for petrol and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) rose 3.5% and 24.6% respectively, reflecting recent trends.

For the year to date, registrations were down 6.9% but the figure was said to be in line with industry expectations given current challenging conditions. Fleet registrations were down 7.3% for the first 11 months of the year, with business registrations down 6.3% and private registrations down 6.5%.

YtD diesel registrations were down 29.8%, with petrol up 8.8% and AFVs rising 22.0%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “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.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.