UK car sales fall for 4th month in a row in July

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

LON­DON: British new car reg­is­tra­tions fell for a fourth con­sec­u­tive month in July, the longest run of de­clines since 2011, in the lat­est sign of how un­cer­tainty about Brexit is hit­ting Bri­tain’s econ­omy, a car lobby group said on Fri­day.

De­mand fell across busi­ness, fleet and pri­vate sales with to­tal reg­is­tra­tions down by 9.3 per­cent com­pared with July last year, the So­ci­ety of Mo­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Traders (SMMT) said. In the first seven months of the year as a whole, pri­vate sales were down 5 per­cent, with busi­ness reg­is­tra­tions down 0.2 per­cent and fleet sales up slightly at 0.1 per­cent, leav­ing to­tal reg­is­tra­tions down 2.2 per­cent.

“The fall in con­sumer and busi­ness con­fi­dence is hav­ing a knock-on ef­fect on de­mand in the new car mar­ket and gov­ern­ment must act quickly to pro­vide con­crete plans re­gard­ing Brexit,” said SMMT Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Mike Hawes. Bank of Eng­land Gover­nor Mark Car­ney said on Thurs­day un­cer­tainty around Bri­tain’s split with the Euro­pean Union was weigh­ing on the econ­omy.

Sa­muel Tombs, an econ­o­mist with Pan­theon Macro­eco­nomics, warned that “the down­turn has fur­ther to run”. The hit to con­sumer sen­ti­ment from June’s na­tional elec­tion in which Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May lost her par­lia­men­tary ma­jor­ity could push reg­is­tra­tions down fur­ther as sales tend to lag six months be­hind con­sumer con­fi­dence, he said. Reg­is­tra­tions for al­ter­na­tively fu­elled ve­hi­cles, how­ever, soared 64.9 per­cent, the SMMT said. The gov­ern­ment said on July 26 that sales of petrol and diesel cars would be banned from 2040. — Reuters

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