Stalling consumer confidence, supply delays due to implementation of the new WLTP emissions test and model replacement all combined to affect overall sales, SMMT said (Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images).

New car sales in the UK recorded a decline by 6.9 per cent during January to November period following lack of consumer confidence, emission rules which limited supply, according to the latest data released on Wednesday (5).

The British new car market declined by a modest 3.0 per cent in November with some 158,639 units registered, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Stalling consumer confidence, supply delays due to an implementation of the new WLTP emissions test and model replacement all combined to affect overall sales, SMMT said.

Reflecting recent trends, demand for petrol and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) rose 3.5 per cent and 24.6 per cent respectively but failed to offset a 16.7 per cent fall for diesel cars. While fleet and private registrations fell in turn by 0.7 per cent and 6.4 per cent, business sales rose 8.6 per cent, though the latter makes up only 3.1 per cent of the market.

“Model and regulatory changes combined with falling consumer confidence conspired to affect supply and demand in November. The good news is that, as supply constraints ease, and new exciting models come on sale in the months ahead, buyers can look forward to a wide choice of cutting-edge petrol, diesel and electrified cars. It’s now critical that a Brexit deal is secured to boost consumer confidence and provide a stimulus to the new car market as we enter the New Year,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive commenting on the latest data released.

In the year to date, more than 2.2 million buyers have taken advantage of an increasingly diverse range of models, including ever-more zero and low emission vehicles as manufacturers continue investing in technologies to produce the cleanest vehicles ever made. The market was down 6.9 per cent on the first 11 months of 2018, but is in line with industry expectations given current challenging conditions, SMMT said.

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