The number of new cars registered last month fell by 2.8% despite the rises in petrol and electric cars.
The figure at the same period last year was at 80,805 new cars, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). A part of this is a quiet car sales period in February as the number plate changes are enforced in March.
The CEO of the SMMT, Mike Hawes, says they expect “further softening” looking ahead to the number plate change month.
Petrol sales rose 14.4% in February, up from 51.5% of market share to 60.6%. Electric and hybrid cars rose by 7.2% last month. This still didn’t halt the decline.
Diesel sales fell by nearly a quarter last month (23.5%) to 28,317. This marks a 35% share of the market, down from 44.5% from the same stage last year.
Second-hand diesel sales have also dived since Volkswagen’s emissions scandal came to pass in September 2015.
So far in 2018, the UK new car market declined by 5.1%. Registrations by business, private and fleet buyers are also down by 29.8%, 7.1% and 2.1%, respectively.
Britain’s car industry body expects demand for new cars to fall a further 5% to 7% overall in 2018. The expectation is for the industry to recover next year.
The first decline since 2011 occurred last year, which brought an end to the boom provided by cheap finance and personal contract plans (PCP), accounting for 80% of all new car registrations.