Pivotal summer ahead as car dealers hope good weather heats up 182-reg buying
Dealers are hoping the good weather puts more people in new-car buying mood as the 182-reg period starts next week.
It has been a sluggish year with registrations running around the 87,000 mark - a 4.5pc drop so far.
At the same time, more than 50,000 second-hand imports have been registered - a substantial 13pc hike on last year.
If sustained, that level of buying would put used import purchases on track to top the 100,000 mark before the end of the year. Some experts are forecasting even greater numbers as Brexit uncertainty dominates the motoring landscape.
In a way this will be a pivotal summer as the Government repeatedly stresses its commitment to all new cars sold in 2030 being electric.
At the same time, it is under pressure to tweak VRT and road-tax bands in the next Budget to reduce the impact of latest (and often higher) consumption and emissions data under the new WLTP system.
But there is some evidence its ambitious (to some unrealistic) 'electric era' deadline is beginning to impinge more heavily on buyer sentiment as people leave diesel in favour of petrol and hybrid in an initial shift towards electrification. More immediately impacting, however, are fears that diesel will be hit in the Budget.
Petrol sales are rebalancing towards their market share of 10 years ago while there is no doubt diesel buying is steadily shrinking.
Latest official (SIMI) figures show it is currently down from 66pc to 55pc share, with petrol up from 30pc to 38pc and electric hybrids increasing to 5.4pc from 3.2pc.
Electric cars have shown a modest gain (from 0.4pc to 0.6pc) but there is confidence that they will grow exponentially over the next year given the number of incentives.