Diesel-engined variants now account for 36.3% of all new cars sold in Britain. Christopher Macgowan, chief executive of the SMMT, said: ‘In a weaker August new car market, diesel continued to star. As fuel prices soar, buyers are really switching on to its benefits and last month marked almost five consecutive years of diesel growth.
‘Cheaper motoring and greater model choice are just two of its selling points – better fuel consumption is also helping to lower average carbon dioxide emissions from the tailpipe.’
Diesel sales to fleets reflect the trend, with certain models recording massive rises. For the year to date, Audi saw its TDI-engined A3 model sales rise by a massive 69.1% and A4 registrations by 31.8%. Vauxhall continued to enjoy massive success with the new Astra, with diesel sales up 72.2% year-to-date and Volkswagen saw TDI-engined Golf sales rise by 41.5%.
In the fleet market as a whole, Vauxhall remained the best-selling manufacturer, selling 142,291 cars year-to-date (down 3.7%), with Ford close behind on 137,022 (down 3.5% on last year’s figure).
But despite the huge success of the new Astra, its main rival, the Ford Focus maintained its title of the best-selling car in fleet, with sales of 67,206 year-to-date, a drop of 2.2%.