New car demand drops for second consecutive month

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New car sales fell last month as the General Election put potential buyers off from making a purchase, an industry body has said.

Some 186,265 new cars were registered in May, down 8.5% on the same month last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

It is the second consecutive month of decline, after many buyers brought orders forward to March ahead of new vehicle excise duty (VED) rates coming into force.

RAC research found the vast majority of drivers buying new cars now pay significantly more following the change.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "We expected demand in the new car market to remain negative in May due to the pull-forward to March - which was an all-time record month - resulting from VED reform.

"Added to this, the General Election was always likely to give many pause for thought and affect purchasing patterns in the short term.

"Although demand has fallen, it's important to remember that the market remains at a very high level and, with a raft of new models packed with the latest low emission and connected technology coming to market this summer, we expect the market to remain strong over the year."