Waning consumer confidence hits UK car sales for fourth month in a row

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New car registrations have declined for a fourth successive month (Source: Getty)

UK car sales fell in July as squeezed consumers held back on big-ticket purchases, with sales of new cars falling 6.6 per cent, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

New UK car registrations were down 9.3 per cent on the year, marking a fourth successive monthly decline, the figures showed.

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said: "This certainly ties in with the weakened July GfK consumer confidence survey."

The GfK poll found consumer confidence dropped to a negative reading of 12 in July, its joint-lowest since December 2013.

Other measures in the past two months have also pointed to waning consumer confidence, as spending figures show signs of decline.

This morning the Bank of England's deputy governor Ben Broadbent said consumers were still holding their nerve, but warned they will rein in spending if there is no transitional Brexit process.

Read more: Brexit transition deal important to avoid economic harm says Mark Carney

Businesses becoming cautious

Car sales figures for July also showed a 10.1 per cent drop in new sales in the fleet sector, which has previously performed relatively well.

Archer suggested that this will be of particular concern .

“It could be a sign that businesses are becoming more reluctant to replace or add to their fleets amid heightened economic and political uncertainties."

Read more: UK Government to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars from 2040

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