Fuel-efficient diesels such as the VW Golf are becoming more popular with new-car buyers, official figures show.
Diesels accounted for 42.8% of all new car registrations last month, compared with just 39.4% in September 2007.
And, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the average market share for diesels was just 23.9% between 1997 and 2007.
It is thought drivers are increasingly opting for diesel cars because they are more efficient than petrol alternatives.
The VW Golf, which we recently reviewed, was the top-selling diesel in September – and has been for all but two months this year.
Last month also saw alternatively-fuelled vehicles – such as the Toyota Prius – marginally increase their market share. They accounted for 0.8% of all new vehicles registered.
Poor sales figures
But despite these increases in market share, the actual number of new car sales slumped in what the SMMT described as ‘an exceptionally weak’ September.
The number of diesel units sold last month – 141,306 – represents a 15.4% decrease on September 2007, and sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles also declined.
Sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles are, however, up slightly over the year to date, with 13,586 units shifted.
Only the supermini sector experienced growth last month, with Hyundai’s i10 and the Vauxhall Agila helping to boost sales. Vauxhall’s Corsa took the title of best-selling car for a second successive month.