Car sales fall in March for ninth month in a row

CAR sales in the UK are still below pre-recession levels and have been declining for nine consecutive months, according to a report by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

A total of 366,101 new 11-plate cars were registered in March, a 7.9 per cent slump in like-for-like sales on the same period last year.

Last year’s sales, however, were bolstered by the government scrappage scheme, meaning a better than expected result was registered, with actual sales up 5.9 per cent if the incentive volumes are excluded, the SMMT said.

On a greener note, average new car emissions for the first quarter of 2011 were at a record low of 140.3gms per kilometre, down 3.4 per cent compared to last year.

Alternative fuel car sales were up 27.3 per cent, marking a widespread change in consumer attitude as the US reports a 37 per cent increase in hybrid and electric car sales in the first quarter of 2011, according to research firm Edmunds.com.