New car sales take a knock

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT / INTERNATIONAL -

BRI­TISH new car reg­is­tra­tions fell 8.5 per­cent last month, an in­dus­try body said yes­ter­day, blam­ing the de­cline on the run-up to this week’s na­tional elec­tion and the ef­fect of an April tax hike. Car sales dropped to 186 265 ve­hi­cles in May, with a 14 per­cent slump in de­mand to con­sumers and a 5.3 per­cent drop in fleet busi­ness reg­is­tra­tions, ac­cord­ing to data from the So­ci­ety of Mo­tor Man­u­fac­tur­ers and Traders (SMMT). “We ex­pected de­mand in the new car mar­ket to re­main neg­a­tive in May due to the pull-for­ward to March,” SMMT chief ex­ec­u­tive Mike Hawes said, re­fer­ring to a rise in ve­hi­cle ex­cise duty which boosted de­mand be­fore it came into ef­fect in April. – Reuters

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