New car market down 2.5% in 2019

Demand for new cars has fallen 2.5% during 2019, the automotive industry has said.

Some 1.86 million new cars were registered between January and September compared with 1.91 million during the same period in 2018, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

The organisation blamed fears over Brexit for holding potential buyers back from purchasing new cars.

Figures for last month alone show the market grew by 1.3% year-on-year, but this is compared with September 2018 when registrations were severely hit by new emissions regulations and a lack of testing capacity affecting supply.

Other major European markets performed much stronger last month, with growth in double digits.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “September’s modest growth belies the ongoing downward trend we’ve seen over the past 30 months.

“We expected to see a more significant increase in September, similar to those seen in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, given the negative effect WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) had on all European markets last year.

“Instead, consumer confidence is being undermined by political and economic uncertainty. We need to restore stability to the market which means avoiding a no-deal Brexit and, moreover, agreeing a future relationship with the EU that avoids tariffs and barriers that could increase prices and reduce buyer choice.”

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