Friday 4 October 2019 9:41 am

New car sales edge up after torrid year

New car sales climbed in the 12 months to September, as manufacturers recovered slightly following a turbulent spell of trading last year.

According to SMMT new car sales rose 1.3 per cent year-on-year to September, marking the first rise since February.

However, 2019 was the second weakest September – after 2018 – for new car sales since 2011.

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor of the EY ITEM Club, said tha the gain “is coming from a very weak base as new car sales plunged 20.5 per cent year-on-year in September 2018 when they were hit hard by a shortage of new cars available for sale caused by manufacturers struggling to deal with the implementation of new emissions rules”.

The September rise comes after drops of 1.6 per cent in August and 4.1 per cent in July.

Alex Buttle, director of car selling comparison website, added: “Monthly new car figures continue to be depressing for a once-thriving UK car industry, and September figures are unlikely to lift the gloomy mood.

“Although new registrations ticked up 1.3 per cent last month, we should be cautious with optimism here as new stricter emissions rules hit sales this time last year. And the launch of the new reg plate last month hasn’t given new car sales the significant boost the industry desperately needs.”