Britain’s new car market is feared to be heading into a post-Brexit decline destined to knock sales back to 2.4 million a year in 2017 – a loss of around 250,000 new car sales.
The disappointing forecast has emerged as the car industry grapples with the fall-out of the Brexit vote, which has knocked sterling and business confidence and is negatively impacting investment.
"These are early days," said a spokesperson at market researcher IHS Global, "but we are in a negative shock situation and the initial assessment is a decline in the market."
New car sales were expected by IHS Global to hit 2.7m by the end of this year, a small increase on last year’s 2.6m.
However, the negative effect on the UK economy is now forecast to push that down by up to 55,000 units to 2.64m.
"Effectively, all the growth experienced in the first half of the year is likely to be wiped out," said IHS Global analyst Colin Couchman.