Fewer new cars sold in February

Demand for new cars fell by 2.9% last month, the automotive industry has said.

Some 79,594 new cars were registered in February compared with 81,969 during the same month in 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The trade association blamed weak consumer confidence and confusion over what fuel technology to buy.

The decline was driven by a 7.4% drop in demand from private consumers.

Sales of diesel and petrol models were down 27.1% and 7.3% year-on-year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “Another month of decline for the new car market is especially concerning at a time when fleet renewal is so important in the fight against climate change.

“Next week’s Budget is the Chancellor’s opportunity to reverse this trend by restoring confidence to the market and showing that government is serious about delivering on its environmental ambitions.

“Industry has invested in the technology, with a huge influx of new zero and ultra-low emission models coming to market in 2020, and we now need government to match this with a comprehensive package of incentives and infrastructure spending to accelerate demand.”