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Falling consumer confidence leads to dip in new car sales

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Sales of new cars in the UK fell by 3% in November as demand for diesel vehicles continued to plummet.

In total, 158,639 cars were registered in the month, compared to 163,541 during the same month a year before, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The trade body put the modest decline down to falling consumer confidence and supply constraints.

Demand for petrol and alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) rose 3.5% and 24.6% respectively but failed to offset a 16.7% fall for diesel cars.

The Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Golf continued to top the best-seller list.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “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.”

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars said: “In truth, we had hoped that today’s figures would be slightly stronger, however, we are not overly surprised as the run up to Christmas is a traditionally more muted time for the industry.

“There are also other factors that have caused new car registrations to fall, including the VED upheaval, the introduction of new emissions regulations and the confusion over fuel types.

“Not to mention the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, which may well be causing people to delay their big ticket purchases.

“However, we are optimistic that this bottleneck will clear soon as we expect consumers to take advantage of compelling finance deals in the New Year.”

For more, see: Buying a new car? The finance options explained

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