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UK new car market down again in November as diesel sales slump: SMMT

London — The UK new car market fell for the eighth consecutive month in November,with registrations down 11.2% year on year to 163,451 units, driven by asignificant fall in demand for diesel vehicles, the Society of MotorManufacturers and Traders said Tuesday.

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Increases in demand for petrol and alternatively fueled vehicles failedto offset the sharp 30.6% year-on-year drop for diesel after "months ofconfusion and speculation about the government's air quality plans and itspolicies towards diesel cars," SMMT said.

"An eighth month of decline in the new car market is a major concern,with falling business and consumer confidence exacerbated by ongoinganti-diesel messages from government," SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said in astatement.

"Diesel remains the right choice for many drivers, not least because ofits fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. The decision to tax the latestlow-emission diesels is a step backwards and will only discourage drivers fromtrading in their older, more polluting cars," Hawes said.

"Given fleet renewal is the fastest way to improve air quality,penalising the latest, cleanest diesels is counterproductive and will havedetrimental environmental and economic consequences," he added.

Business, fleet and private registrations all fell in the month, down33.6%, 14.4% and 5.1% respectively, the group said. Registrations fell acrossall body types except specialist sports, which grew 6.7%. The biggest fallswere in the executive and mini segments, which decreased 22.2% and 19.8%respectively, while demand in the supermini segment contracted by 15.4%.

The AFV sector continued to make significant gains, up 33.1% year onyear, while petrol vehicle registrations were up 5% from November 2016.

Over January-November, overall registrations were down by 5% year onyear, with 2,388,144 cars hitting UK roads so far this year.

--Andy Blamey, andy.blamey@spglobal.com

--Edited by Jonathan Dart, jonathan.dart@spglobal.com