UK car sales fall for fifth month running 0

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August saw UK new car sales fall for the fifth month in a row, demand for diesels in particular dropped by more than a fifth.

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed there were 76,433 new car registrations last month.

This marked a drop of 6.4% from the same time last year, diesel sales were down  by 21.3% from the same period.

Many car makers have started scrappage initiatives and trade-in deals for buyers in the UK.

Amongst the brands to have launched schemes are VW, Toyota, Ford, Vauxhall and Renault. This could potentially see a September rise in sales.

The SMMT figures show that 1.64 million new cars have been sold in 2017 so far, a fall of 2.4% from last year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “August is typically a quiet month for the new car market as consumers and businesses delay purchases until the arrival of the new number plate in September.

“With the new 67-plate now available and a range of new models in showrooms, we anticipate the continuation of what are historically high levels of demand.”

Sales to private buyers were down 9.9% in August from a year earlier, while fleet sales dropped 3.2%.

“August’s sharp fall in private registrations shows why dealers have suddenly launched scrappage schemes, ” said Samuel Tombs of Pantheon Microeconomics.

However, he was reluctant to say whether or not the schemes would have any long-term impact.

“In theory, these financial incentives could stem the downward trend in sales. But in many cases, the scrappage schemes replace discounts that were available to all buyers, and many owners of old cars might not be able to afford the monthly repayments for a new vehicle.

“Scrappage schemes might turbocharge sales for a few months, but low consumer confidence and deteriorating affordability due to the weak pound suggest that the mid-2010s boom in car sales has run out of mileage.”

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