Page last updated at 11:22 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 12:22 UK

New car sales 'hit by downturn'

Hyundai I10
Not all varieties of car have been hit by the downturn

New UK car registrations last month hit the lowest level for any August since 1966, industry figures show.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that new car registrations were down 18.6% to 63,225 compared with the same month in 2007.

It said that declining consumer confidence was hitting sales across all major European markets.

It has called on the UK government to take "sustained action" to boost the economy and restore confidence.

'Reluctance'

The SMMT said new car registrations were down 3.8% in the year so far, compared with last year.

"Industry is encouraged by the growing interest in lower-carbon cars, but is concerned by the reluctance of consumers to commit to major purchases," said chief executive Paul Everitt.

As well as weaker consumer confidence, the high price of petrol has also been deterring buyers.

The group did say that falling oil prices could help boost sales.

Although the absolute number of diesel vehicles declined for a second successive month, their market share increased, with the VW Golf the best selling diesel model in August.

"As consumers tighten their belts and move to more efficient models, diesels remain an effective choice," a group spokesman said.

The overall top sellers in August were two smaller cars, the Vauxhall Corsa and the Ford Focus.




SEE ALSO
Warning over car sales in street
29 Aug 08 |  England
GM eyes return to profit in 2010
29 Aug 08 |  Business
Toyota cuts car sales forecasts
28 Aug 08 |  Business
Car sales fall hits US spending
13 Aug 08 |  Business
Carmakers tackle profit problems
24 Jul 08 |  Business
Rising living costs hit car sales
04 Jul 08 |  Business

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific