The Chancellor is under growing pressure to introduce a scrappage incentive scheme for vehicles in this year’s Budget, after it emerged new car sales slumped by more than 30% in March.
For the latest news and deals, sign up to the Which? Car email
Official figures show that despite the arrival of the new 09 plate, just 314,000 new cars were sold last month – around 138,000 fewer than in March 2008. And so far this year, new car sales are down by more than 200,000 units, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
March typically accounts for 17.9% of the annual new-car market, and has been the biggest month for in six of the ten years since twice-yearly plate changes were introduced.
New car sales
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: ‘March new car registrations are a barometer of confidence in the economy, from businesses and consumers alike. The fall in the market shows that government needs to do more to boost confidence.
‘A scrappage scheme will provide the incentive needed and the evidence is clear that schemes already implemented across Europe do work to increase demand. The UK is the only major European market not to implement a scheme.’
Under the proposed scrappage incentive scheme, drivers would be given up to £2,000 towards a new car when they trade in a model over nine years old. The aim is to give the new-car market a much-needed boost and take many older cars, which often have higher CO2 emissions, off the road.
Which? Car email
To be kept in the loop on all the manufacturer offers and great car deals we spot each week, sign up for our Which? Car email – delivered to your inbox every Friday, and including all our latest news and first drive reviews, too.