Britain’s new car market tumbled by 7.3% year-on-year in January, figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal. 

A total of 149,279 vehicles were registered across the month, down by just under 12,000 from the same month last year. Diesel car sales again declined substantially, and has a market share of below 20% for the first time in twenty years. Petrol car registrations also dropped by 9.5%, however. 

Top 10 best-selling cars in Britain 2019

The SMMT blames “continued confusion surround diesel and clean air zones and ongoing weak consumer and business confidence” for the fall. Private sales were hit the hardest – down 13.9% – with fleet registrations taking a less substantial 2.2% hit. 

There is some good news, however: alternatively-fuelled cars continued their steady but significant rise throughout 2019, capturing a record 11.9% of the market.