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UK Car Sales Drop Again in October

Car sales in the UK dropped for the seventh month in succession in October as consumer confidence continues to soften.

The number of new car registrations were down by 12.2 per cent when compared to October 2016, as 158,192 vehicles were sold.

The drop, confirmed by the latest Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), continues the freefall seen in new car sales during 2017.

Sales of new vehicles in the UK fell on a year-on-year basis by 9.3 per cent in September, 6.4 per cent in August and 9.3 per cent in July.

The first 10 months of 2017 has now seen 2.22 million cars registered, down 4.6 per cent on the same time last year.

Private vehicle sales have declined by 6.4 per cent to around 993,000, business sales by 3.3 per cent to just under 88,000, and fleet registrations by 3 per cent to around 1.1 million.

Diesel powered vehicle sales continued to fall, now representing a 39 per cent market share in the month, down from 49 per cent. Sales of diesel cars are down by 15 per cent in the year to date.

Sales of petrol fuelled cars rose 2.7 per cent in October to almost 88,000, with sales up 2.9 per cent in the first 10 months of the year.

Electric, hybrid and other alternatively fuelled vehicles saw sales up 37 per cent in October to 8,244. Over 102,000 have been sold in 2017 so far.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: ‘Declining business and consumer confidence is undoubtedly affecting demand in the new car market but this is being compounded by confusion over government policy on diesel.’

He continued: ‘Consumers need urgent reassurance that the latest, low emission diesel cars on sale will not face any bans, charges or other restrictions, anywhere in the UK.

‘We urge the Government to use the forthcoming Autumn Budget to restore stability to the market, encouraging the purchase of the latest low emission vehicles as fleet renewal is the fastest and most effective way of addressing air quality concerns.’

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