An uptick in the number of new cars sold to private and fleet drivers in July was not enough to slow the longer-term decline in the market. New car registration data – a proxy for sales – showed the overall market in July recorded a 1.2pc annual rise to 163,898. However, on a year-to-date basis the figures collated by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed a 5.5pc drop to 1,477,892 registrations in the first seven months of the year. This is in line with the industry’s forecast for the year, which predicts about 2.4m cars will be sold in 2018. Sales to private buyers edged up 0.1pc in July to 67,772, while fleet sales – which include rental companies – were 2.6pc stronger at 91,542. The smaller company car market fell 10.2 pc to 4,584. The long-term decline has been partly driven by motorists shying away from diesel vehicles in the wake of the Volkswagen scandal, which first broke in late 2015. Diesel had about half of the UK market then but demand for vehicles powered by the fuel has since plunged. Ministers are trying to discourage people from buying diesel cars, saying they are more polluting than petrol -… Read full this story
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