New car sales fell for the first time in six years last year, with demand for diesel cars plunging by almost a fifth.

In total, there were about 2.5 million cars registered, according to industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The figure was down 5.7% from 2016, while diesel sales fell 17.1% as higher taxes and pollution fears hit demand.

Swindon has two of the largest car manufacturer’s in the UK situated in the town.

The Swindon Labour Group Leader, Cllr Jim Grant, said,“The announcement on a drop in car sales figure is a big concern given the importance of Honda and BMW as employers in our town.

The Government’s mismanagement of the economy and mishandling of the Brexit negotiations has shaken consumer and business confidence and it’s concerning that the sales of new cars are falling.

The British car industry is a vital part of our national economy, and particularly Swindon’s economy. Thousands of jobs are locked up in this industry in Swindon.

It’s time for the government to give the British consumers and business more certainty and create the right conditions of car manufacturing growth.”

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