LONDON: British new car registrations fell by an annual 4.8 percent in June, the first time in six years sales have fallen for three months in a row as the market cools from record highs, an industry body said on Wednesday. A total of 243,454 vehicles were sold last month according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) as demand among individual consumers dropped 7.8 percent and business fleet demand fell 2.4 percent.
In the first half of the year, demand dropped 1.3 percent with the SMMT expecting full-year numbers to decline by 2.6 percent to 2.62 million sales, according to a forecast published earlier this year. Sales hit a record high last year, boosted by cheap credit and strong consumer confidence which has fallen after a rise in inflation, the inconclusive outcome of June’s national election and as Brexit talks begin. A vehicle duty tax rise which came into effect in April also distorted the market this year, pushing up sales to an all-time high in March before a subsequent slump of 20 percent in April.