Car sales in the UK are on their way down, and the Volkswagen emissions scandal is to blame.
Data released on Thursday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that in October, sales of cars in the UK dropped by 1.1%, a first monthly fall in 43 months. In total, 177,664 new cars were registered.
New car registrations in the UK have been enjoying an enormous boom in recent years, and sales have grown every month for more than three and a half years.
Volkswagen’s emissions scandal broke in late September, and didn’t have time to affect sales for that month, but the full impact on sales now seems to be hitting.
Volkswagen’s sales in Britain fell by nearly 10% last month, while sales of SEAT, one of VW’s brands, dropped off by a massive 32%. Skoda, another VW owned automaker, saw a fall of 3%. The only Volkswagen owned brand to grow sales was Audi, up by 2%.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live this morning, Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the SMMT said that the Volkswagen scandal has affected the industry as a whole, and not just VW and the brands it owns. According to Autoexpress, he also added that many consumers have started to think twice about buying any new vehicle in the wake of the emissions scandal.
Other manufacturers that saw a fall off in sales include Vauxhall and Ford, which saw drops of 8% and 16% respectively. Japanese maker Nissan, which has a huge manufacturing plant in the UK, lost 13% of its sales.
Although overall sales have fallen, Hawes was keen to stress that the market for autos in Britain is still buoyant. In an official statement he said that “the sector is in a strong position, as low interest rates, consumer confidence and exciting new products combine to attract new car buyers.”
So far in 2015, 2,274,550 new cars have been sold in the UK, the best ever year to date performance for the industry, and a 6.4% increase from the same time last year.
The Ford Fiesta remains the UK’s most popular car, selling 8,577 units in October. Three Volkswagen made cars remain in the top ten; the VW Golf, the Polo, and the Audi A3.
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