The number of new cars registered in the UK fell 6.4 per cent in August, the fifth consecutive month of falls, according to new data.
Some 76,433 new cars were registered during the month, down from 81,640 in August 2016, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The diesel sector was hit the hardest, with a 21.3 per cent fall in registrations. Meanwhile, petrol cars rose 3.8 per cent and alternatively-fuelled vehicles, which encompasses hybrids and electric vehicles, rose 58.3 per cent, giving them a 5.2 per cent share of the market.
In the year to date, 1.64m new cars have been registered in the UK, down 2.4 per cent on the same period last year.
Demand still strong
But the SMMT said the performance still represented the third-biggest August in the past 10 years.
“August is typically a quiet month for the new car market as consumers and businesses delay purchases until the arrival of the new number plate in September," said Mike Hawes, the SMMT's chief executive.
"With the new 67-plate now available and a range of new models in showrooms, we anticipate the continuation of what are historically high levels of demand."
However, analysts suggested the industry could be in for further woes.
“With Brexit negotiations well underway and the government announcing radical changes to the sale of fossil-fuelled cars, the motor industry is entering a wave of prolonged uncertainty. This will likely have an impact on consumer spending habits," said Chris Bosworth, director of strategy at Close Brothers Motor Finance.
"The Bank of England has already announced that car finance deals have eased as a result. In fact, 5.5m British motorists say Brexit has already had a direct impact on their car purchasing plans and has made them more likely to purchase a used car or to hold off their purchase altogether."