“The outlook for car manufacturers looks increasingly worrying with the economy struggling markedly, and consumer and business confidence low,” commented economist Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight.
Overall, however, the figures exceeded expectations, with a surge in sales of fleets of cars. Total car sales were down just 0.8 per cent, propped up by high fleet sales.
Sales volumes from January to September are five per cent down on the same time last year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed. Yet the fall in the third quarter slowed to 0.7 per cent, helped by strong figures in August.
The SMMT expects 1.92m new car sales throughout this year.