Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 11:24 UK

UK new car sales 25% lower in May

Registration plates being put on a new car
It will take time for the scrappage scheme to feed into registrations

UK car sales fell by 24.8% in May compared with the same month last year, the latest industry figures have shown.

The number of new cars sold in the UK during the month was 134,858, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The fall is the 13th consecutive monthly decline in new car sales.

The figures do not capture the impact of the car scrappage incentive scheme, worth £2,000, which only came into effect on 18 May.

June's figures could see an improvement, said Paul Everitt, chief executive of the SMMT.

Ford Fiesta - 7,040
Ford Focus - 6,693
Vauxhall Corsa - 5,525
Volkswagen Golf - 3,961
Vauxhall Astra - 3,549
Peugeot 207 - 3,103
BMW MINI - 2,650
Ford Mondeo - 2,647
Nissan Qashqai 2,629
Vauxhall Insignia - 2,602
Source: SMMT

"We have seen an encouraging start to the scrappage incentive scheme with 35,000 orders being placed since it was announced, although it will take time to feed into registration figures," he said.

Carmakers across the world are struggling with a massive drop in sales during the economic downturn.

A total of 748,691 vehicles have been sold in the UK so far in 2009, down 27.9% from last year.

The Ford Fiesta is the most popular model, with 48,182 sold in the year-to-date

Budding recovery?

Under the scrappage scheme, a £2,000 incentive will be paid to motorists who scrap cars registered before 31 August 1999 to buy a new car.

Half of the money will be paid by the government and half by the car industry.

Similar schemes introduced in Europe have succeeded in boosting sales and there are signs of a similar impact in the UK.

Hyundai, which has 2% of the UK market, said sales in May rose 36.6% to 3,325 and new orders totalled 9,000.

In an average month, it would take 1,200 to 1,600 orders, said Tony Whitehorn, managing director of Hyundai Motor UK.

But he said it was too early to say whether there had been a genuine turnaround in the market.

"The scrappage scheme has given an incentive but there's still an underlying problem in confidence. It's hard to say whether there really are green shoots of recovery," he said.

He added that corporate demand for vehicles had yet to pick up.

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