‘Disappointing’ 5.8% decline in new car market in August

Demand for new cars fell by a “disappointing” 5.8% last month, industry data shows.

Some 87,226 new cars were registered in the UK in August compared with 92,573 during the same month in 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Registrations during the first eight months of the year are down 39.7% compared with the same period in 2019.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The decline is disappointing, following some brief optimism in July.

“However, given August is typically one the new car market’s quietest months, it’s important not to draw too many conclusions from these figures alone.

“With the all-important plate change month just around the corner, September is likely to provide a better barometer. As the nation takes steps to return to normality, protecting consumer confidence will be critical to driving a recovery.”

The automotive industry has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with year-on-year demand down 97.3% in April, 89.0% in May and 34.9% in June.

July saw an 11.3% increase, which was attributed to pent-up demand and special offers.