Car manufacturers have striven to reduce the CO2 emissions of their vehicles for decades. This has been to pass increasingly robust emissions tests, to save their customers money on fuel, to reduce their impact on the environment and appeal to an ever more environmentally conscious consumer base.
The CO2 emissions and Miles Per Gallon (MPG) figures have become central to marketing, as car manufacturers constantly seek to improve fuel efficiency and reduce their vehicles’ economic impact. Governments are pushing manufacturers to reduce their vehicles’ emissions, with legislative changes and internationally agreed targets, and this has encouraged innovation and the rise of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs).
How should retailers prepare for the rise of AFVs?
While it will be decades before car retailers completely halt sales of petrol and diesel vehicles, they should start planning for the future and alter their stock orders according to the consumer shift towards greener cars. Although AFVs are getting more interest – grabbing headlines with leaps in sales percentages – they still account for only a fraction of the market, selling just under 120,000 units last year, according to the SMMT. Meanwhile, diesel sales reached 1.07m units in 2017, and petrol came out on top with over 1.35m.
The used car market will have even longer to prepare for the progressive shift to AFVs, as new petrol and diesel vehicles will continue to roll off the production lines for a while, before trickling into second-hand use long after the 2040 ban. Of course, even used car retailers should be aware of consumers’ shifting appetite for more economical transport, as they may find old diesel vehicles attracting less and less attention and, therefore, declining in value.
Why you should watch manufacturers’ strategies for a shifting marketplace
Manufacturers have already announced their changing strategies for the future of the industry – with a trove of hybrid and entirely electric vehicles set to be developed over the coming years. Many have even declared their ambition to completely stop production of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, in line with a ban on the manufacture of fossil fuelled vehicles in many European countries, including the UK, at the same time.