Slide in UK car sales cause “considerable concern”

New figures have shown new car sales in the UK have fallen for the seventh month in a row – causing “considerable concern”.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders have shown a slide in car sales by 9.3 percent from September last year.

A total of 426,170 new car registrations were registered in September, which is normally a big time of year for new car sales.

“September is always a barometer of the health of the UK new car market, so this decline will cause considerable concern,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

“Business and political uncertainty is reducing buyer confidence, with consumers and businesses more likely to delay big-ticket purchases.”

“The confusion surrounding air quality plans has not helped, but consumers should be reassured that all the new diesel and petrol models on the market will not face any bans or additional charges.

“Manufacturers’ scrappage schemes are proving popular and such schemes are to be encouraged given fleet renewal is the best way to address environmental issues in our towns and cities.”

The statistics for last month have shown cause for concern. The last time there was a decline in new car sales in September was in 2011, when it fell by a small 0.8 percent.

Chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, Samuel Tombs, said: “Car sales remain well below last year’s levels, as the inflation-driven squeeze on real incomes makes households reluctant to make major financial commitments.

“In seasonally-adjusted terms, however, we estimate that registrations were 9.7 percent higher in [the third quarter] than [the second quarter], when sales were hit by April’s increase in vehicle excise duty.”

The best selling car in September was the Nissan Qashqai (OTCMKTS:NSANY), selling 13,499 vehicles. Next up was the Volkswagen Golf (ETR:VOW3), which sold 12,800 cars in the UK.