Sales of new cars in the UK have fallen for the sixth month running, reflecting a lack of consumer confidence in the economy, and leaving the market on course for its first annual decline since 2011.
New car registrations in September, an important month for the vehicle trade as number plates change, fell by 9.3 per cent to 426,170. This marks the first time in six years that the September market has declined year-on-year.
Registrations have dropped by 3.9 per cent over the first nine months of 2017 and are expected to record a fall over the year as a whole.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have blamed the lack of consumer confidence on Brexit uncertainty and confusion over air quality plans affecting diesel car sales which plummeted by 21.7 per cent in September.
Diesel car sales have now been falling for six years and it is expected that CO2 emissions from new vehicles could rise this year for the first time since average UK emissions were first recorded in the year 2000.
Tax breaks had previously favoured diesel cars over petrol, despite diesel being a leading emitter of nitrogen oxides. However, new research has suggested that diesel could also be worse for causing carbon emissions.
The UK government confirmed this year that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars would be banned from 2040, following a similar announcement from the French government.
A slight annual decline in new car registrations had been expected by the SMMT due to strong sales in 2016, but the likely percentage drop is due to be bigger than expected.
Richard Jones, managing director of motor finance firm Black Horse, part of Lloyds Banking Group, said: ‘With the new 67 plates now available, September was an important month for the industry and today?s figures reflect the general slowdown across the market.’