New car registrations are currently at a seven year low according to new figures by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), and the trend is set to continue throughout 2020.

2019 was the third-straight year of declining new car sales, which came after the record-setting high sales of 2016, and according to the BBC, the SMMT is expecting a further decline of 1.6 percent over the course of this year.

Just 2.31 million new cars were registered in 2019, a decline of two percent on 2018's numbers. Continued decline for diesel-powered cars was a key factor in the overall decline, with sales in that category alone dropping by 22 percent in the last year.

Happy woman customer in showroom sitting in car with salesman

Political issues, such as Brexit, plus environmental concerns are also behind falling car sales.

"You can never put it down to one single factor. It has been a perfect storm over the past few years", SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes told the BBC. "It's really no surprise the market has been declining. That's why we need a return of confidence and strong economic conditions."

Despite the general fall in new car sales, sales of alternative fuel vehicles such as hybrids and electric cars have soared. EV sales have jumped by a staggering 144 percent, while hybrid sales have also increased by a fifth.

Car salesman handing keys over finance agreement documents

Over the next two years the EU will introduce rules that will force manufacturers to sell more hybrid and electric cars. Carmakers that don't lower the overall CO2 output of their product portfolios will be hit with huge fans.

However, based on the latest sales figures, manufacturers will struggle to hit the lofty targets. According to the SMMT, the combined market share of electric and hybrid vehicles will have to jump to 56 percent (up from 7.4 percent). The market share of electric vehicles will have to step up from 1.6 percent to 27 percent.

"These are still expensive technologies. They carry a price premium," Hawes said. "That's why incentives are so significant in determining the uptake."