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Fri, 17 Aug 2018 06:00:00 +0100

Insight: What’s up with the UK car market?

Jaguar Land Rover factory

Jaguar Land Rover’s sales are being hit by the diesel desertion
We delve into the stories that are causing eyebrow-raising car stats for the UK in 2018

One statistic jumped out of the UK automotive manufacturing figures for June. The number of cars built in the country for sale here, rather than for export, fell by 47%. Have we really fallen out of love with UK-built cars that much?

The answer is tied up in a rollercoaster half year for car sales in this country.

“I’ve been in the industry 26-27 years and I can’t recall a year with so much distortion,” said Daksh Gupta, chief executive of the Marshall Motor Group, which has 99 dealers in the UK. On the surface, UK car sales are holding up pretty well considering the disruptive forces of Brexit, a weak pound and the flight from diesel. The numbers for January-June this year were down 6.3% to 1.3 million, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

But behind the relative calm of the sales figures is turmoil. Diesel sales are tanking. In the first six months, the UK public bought nearly 200,000 fewer new diesel cars than in the same period last year, giving new diesel cars a market share of just 33%.

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