Brexit may finally be hitting the car market after new car sales to consumers fell in October

Courtney Goldsmith
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Sales to individuals edged down 1.1 per cent (Source: Getty)

The UK new car market grew 1.4 per cent last month with sales of 180,168 new cars, new figures have shown - but individual consumer registrations fell by 1.1 per cent.

Growth was led by new fleet registrations, which rose 4.2 per cent, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) today.

Year-to-date performance was 2.5 per cent ahead with 2,330,663 new registered cars so far this year. The SMMT predicted car sales will rise to 2.68m in 2016, beating last year's record high of 2.63m.

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September’s number plate change is always a hard act to follow so the market’s growth in October, albeit moderate, is welcome news,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.

Hawes said he “looks to the government to ensure consumer and business confidence remains buoyant.”

However Reuters reported that uncertainty created by the vote to leave the European Union has caused sales of individual buyers to fall every month since April, and Howard Archer, an economist with IHS Global Insight, said the industry body had forecast a drop of at least five per cent next year due to consumers’ tightening disposable income.

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, said low interest rates and high employment levels will support consumer confidence.

Popularity in alternatively fuelled vehicles continues to rise with an increase of 12.4 per cent in October and 23.3 per cent in the year to date, which Robinson said is set to remain high for the foreseeable future.

October’s best sellers were Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Astra and Nissan Qashqai.

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