The number of cars made in the UK during March fell by 13.3% from a year earlier as both domestic and overseas demand for vehicles declined. The Society of Motor Manufacturing and Traders (SMMT) said poor weather had affected production. It said car sales to the UK had dropped for an eighth month and double-digit falls in the home market and exports were a “considerable concern”.
The SMMT said that cars made for the UK fell by 17.7%, while exports dropped by 11.9%. Over fell by 6.3% to 440,426. The year, car production fell by 6.3% to 440,426. Exports fell by 4% in the first quarter, while UK demand tumbled by 14.1%.
Sales of electric cars in the UK have risen 11% on last year, putting the country in the premier league of those ditching petrol and diesel engines, though it is still miles behind Norway and China.
An analysis of the latest global sales of electric vehicles found that nearly half the vehicles registered in Norway in the first three months of 2018 were electric (48%), compared to just over a third (35%) during the same period in 2017. The vehicles are run almost exclusively off the nation’s hydropower resource, underlining Norway’s claim as the world leader.
In the first quarter of 2018,142,445 electric vehicles – private cars, lorries, trucks and buses – were sold in China, a 154% increase on the previous year.
In the UK, e-vehicle sales reached 14,084 units in the first quarter of 2018. Plug-in hybrid vehicles accounted for 71% of the sales. The market shares of electric vehicles increased from 1.5% a year ago to 2%.
The German market is also gathering momentum, with the share of electric vehicles rising from 1.2% in 2017 to 2%. At the same time, new registrations of diesel vehicles are in freefall. According to the latest data, diesel’s market share is 31.3% – a decline of 25.4% on the year before.
Globally, new registrations of e-cars are expected to increase moderately by 2020, and will range between 2.5% and 6% of market share, according to CAM.
China will allow full foreign ownership of car firms by 2022 in a move that could open up the world’s biggest car market. The plans will change rules that require global carmakers to work through state-owned partners.
China’s state planner said it would remove foreign ownership caps for companies making fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in 2018, for makers of commercial vehicles in 2020, and the wider car market by 2022.