New car sales fell by 9.3% in July, the fourth consecutive month in which demand has decreased.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) has attributed Brexit and economic uncertainty as the main cause for the continuing slump in sales. In the second quarter of this year, there have been 161,997 cars sold in the UK – a contrast to the record-breaking growth of the year's first three months.
Demand fell across business, fleet and private buyers by -23.8%, -10.1% and -6.8% respectively. Conversely, dual-purpose and sports cars sales rose by 7.3% and 10.3% respectively, although volumes were comparatively tiny.
Sales of diesel cars fell to 69,157 in July, close to 17,000 less than sales were in the same month of 2016, suggesting that consumers are being affected by announcements for diesel taxes, despite the fact such policies won’t affect the latest Euro 6-standard models.
The same comparison for petrol shows a smaller drop of close to 3,000 units, with numbers down to 83,969 for July.
One area of the market that has seen continued growth is alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), which soared in sales by 64.9%. AVFs also grew their market share, but still only accounted for 5.5% of overall sales, meaning the growth was far from offsetting the slump in petrol and diesel cars.
Nevertheless, 8,871 new AVFs were driven off forecourts in this quarter – a new record high.
Year-to-date sales figures stand at 1,563,808, compared with 1,599,159 at this point in 2016.