Business

New car sales fall 0.8% in June

car sales Image copyright Getty Images

Sales of new cars fell by 0.8% in June compared to the same month a year earlier, the latest industry figures show.

The Society of Motoring Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said 255,766 new cars were registered last month.

The SMMT said the sales figures were expected, adding the market would "stabilise" following a record 2015.

It added it was too early to tell if the result of the referendum had affected sales.

The fall in new car sales was the first since October 2015 and only the second monthly fall since February 2012.

Sales of diesel cars fell 2.1% in June from a year earlier, while petrol car sales fell 0.5%.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said demand for new cars in the first half of the year overall had grown by 3.2% to a record 1,420,636 registrations.

He 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."

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global, said the car sector would have serious concerns that demand could be hit following the referendum.

"There is widespread suspicion - including at the Bank of England - that heightened uncertainty following the vote to leave the European Union will particularly hit sales of big-ticket items such as cars and houses."

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