Also, CO2 emissions from new cars increased for the first time in 20 years
According to a report by industry body Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), UK car sales declined for the first time in six years last year owing to a collapse of consumer confidence in diesel vehicles.
Total sales for last year were 2.54m new vehicles, a decline of 5.6 per cent on 2016, with diesel car sales plunging 17per cent.
The sales had reached a record high in March last year but by December, they were 13.9 per cent down year-on-year, with 152,000 fewer cars sold than in the same month in 2016.
Mike Hawes, the chief executive of SMMT, said that 2017 had been a “very volatile year” and further warned that the car market could weaken more this year. He added that confusing anti-diesel messages have caused many to hesitate before buying a new low emission diesel car.
Data from the SMMT also revealed that new cars sold in Britain last year were more harmful to the environment than those in 2016 because of the “demonisation” of diesel.
The increase – to 121.04 grams of CO2 per kilometre from 120.1g/km – is being blamed by the trade group on the backlash against diesel vehicles.