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Car sales continue to reverse but market could be on verge of a 'new normal'

Sales of new cars have continued their slump, falling 6.4pc in August, as motorists’ concerns over Britain’s economic health weigh – but the market could be beginning to normalise.
New vehicle registrations – a proxy for sales – dropped to 76,433 last month, down from 81,640 a year ago, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
This fifth consecutive month of decline brings registrations in the year to date to 1,640,241, down 2.4pc on 2016’s level, though this was a record year.
Car sales continue to reverse but market could be on verge of a 'new normal'

A new tax regime which increased the cost of car ownership from April has also skewed demand, with sales pulled forward to beat the higher levy.
Manufacturers have launched a host of “scrappage” schemes touted as a way of getting the most polluting older diesel vehicles off the roads in the wake of the VW scandal, and these could also be influencing sales, along with the Government’s reannouncement of plans to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol engine cars by 2040.
“Despite some recent monthly figures showing significant changes, we’re starting to see the market level out overall and more closely reflect predictions for 2017 as a whole,” said Richard Jones, managing director of car finance specialist Black Horse .
“Recent manufacturer scrappage schemes and long-term plans to tackle air pollution might have had an influence on August’s numbers, particularly on the ongoing drop in diesel sales, but there is still an education piece required regarding newer cleaner diesel engines.”
Car market share
Growing public awareness around emissions from diesel engines hit sales of cars using the fuel, dropping 21.3pc in the month to 38,531, and taking diesel’s share of the market to 39.6pc from 47.2pc a year ago.
Petrol-engined cars sales rose 3.8pc to 40,602, representing 55.2pc of the market.
“Alternatively fuelled vehicles” (AFVs) such as electric and hybrids, were the biggest risers, with sales jumping 58.3pc over the year to 2,507 as more cars using the technology become available and public acceptance of it grows. However, AFVs still represent just a fraction of the market, at 5.2pc.
Car sales continue to reverse but market could be on verge of a 'new normal'

VW's Golf was the best-selling car in August
The best-selling car in August was the VW Golf, with 2,279 registered, knocking the Ford Focus off the top spot from last month.
Ford held on to the title of the best-selling car of the year though, with its Fiesta having sold 64,988 models. Ford was also in the second place for the year to date with its Focus at 47,291, ahead of the VW Gold in third at 44,218.
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