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Sales dip at end of record six months

PUBLISHED: 15:30 12 July 2016 | UPDATED: 15:30 12 July 2016

New car sales for the first half of the year set a new record.

New car sales for the first half of the year set a new record.

PA

New car sales in the UK fell by 0.8% last month compared with figures for the same month in 2015, despite hitting a six-month record.

According to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), there were 255,766 new cars registered last month.

While this represents a slight decline in demand when compared with figures for June 2015, demand for the first half of 2016 grew by 3.2%, with 1,420,636 registrations between January and June.

Vehicles of all fuel types experienced growth, with diesel and petrol registrations growing by 2.3% to 680,938 and 3% to 693,684 respectively so far this year.

Sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs) grew to to 46,014, significant 21.3% rise compared with figures for the first half of 2015. AFVs now account for 3.2% of the total new car market.

Over the first six months of last year diesel and petrol had virtually identical market share at 48.3% and 48.9% respectively but the first half of this year saw the split grow to 47.9% and 48.8%, partly down to growth in AFVs and some buyers favouring petrol over diesel and fearful of facing higher tax on the latter in future with with environmental concerns.

Despite the record number of new car registrations, the SMMT said last month’s dip in sales met expectations that market growth would stabilise following a record 2015.

Chief executive Mike Hawes said: “It is far too soon to determine whether the referendum result has had an impact on the new car market.

“The first six months saw strong demand at record levels but the market undoubtedly cooled over the second quarter.

“It’s important government takes every measure to restore business and economic confidence to avoid the market contracting in the coming months.”

Top sellers last month were:

Ford Fiesta 11,357.

Vauxhall Corsa 8,837.

Ford Focus 6,833.

Volkswagen Golf 6,775.

MINI 6,284.

Top sellers for the first half of the year were:

Ford Fiesta 68,833.

Vauxhall Corsa 42,356.

Ford Focus 38,715.

Volkswagen Golf 37,577.

Nissan Qashqai 33,656.

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