Diesel sales continued to fall but still had a 39% market share in the month, down from 49% as sales fell 30% to just over 62,000, down 15% in the year to date. 24,968 new LCVs joined British roads in October, a -7.4 per cent fall compared with the same month a year ago.
The SMMT blamed a drop in business and consumer confidence for the fall. Elsewhere, BMW's 4 Series has shot into the top ten for the very first time this year, while Mercedes continues to make its presence felt thanks to the A-Class, while the C-Class retains its position of number eight in the year-to-date.
As a result of the seemingly terminal decline in diesel vehicle registrations, the SMMT is calling for the government to reassure buyers that there will be no bans, charges or other restrictions place on the latest diesel cars in the future.
Demand for electric and hybrid cars continued to rise, up by almost 37% to 8,244, while petrol models posted a small increase of 2.7%.
Confidence and trust of diesel cars has plummeted since the 2015 "diesel gate" scandal which revealed the true emissions output of these cars.
"While it's understandable the SMMT is not deserting diesel and urging the Government to act to reassure consumers that new diesel cars will be "safe" from toxin tax punishment, is this a lost cause?" It's been a few months since the Ford managed to take the number one spot, but the all-new model looks to have put it back in the game.
Overall, fewer new cars are being registered. We must also remember Brexit has already had an impact on the United Kingdom vehicle market through the fundamental shift in the exchange rate which is impacting auto prices, making the market correction even more understandable.
However, these gains were unable to offset heavy losses in the diesel segment, as continuing consumer concerns resulted in its biggest hit yet, with demand down -29.9 per cent. The latter - which accounts for hybrid and electric vehicles - now accounts for 5.2% of the market overall.
"The pace of take-up of Alternative Fuelled Vehicles (AFVs) is encouraging, but crucial to drivers and fleets seeing the environmental and cost-benefits of AFVs is driver behaviour".
"Fleets adopting a more AFV-focused vehicle policy need to invest in driver training to realise the full benefits of these vehicles".