Further decline in new car sales

The UK car market witnessed a 22.2% decrease in new car sales last month, compared with the same month in 2009 when the "cash for bangers" scheme improved sales.

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed 131,495 new vehicles were registered in October this year.

The market was greatly influenced by the Government's car scrappage scheme in October 2009, leading to total sales of 168,942.

Despite the drop in sales last month, the market recorded a 4.8% increase in registrations for the first 10 months of 2010 to over 1.76 million, compared with the January-October 2009 figure.

The SMMT warned that car sales may fall further in the remainder of year, but the 2010 year-end total could be just over two million units, up 1.5% on that of 2009.

The decline in October 2010 was the fourth successive month of falls in sales, with the dip of more than 22% being the steepest since May 2009.

Diesel car registrations rose 3.8% last month, with diesel's share of the market climbing to a record 54.7%. This is almost 14% higher than a year ago, when demand for small petrol cars was vibrant through the scrappage scheme.

Registrations of alternatively fuelled cars jumped 13.7% last month and are up 51.3% over the first 10 months of the year.

The Ford Fiesta was again the best selling model, but registrations of supermini and mini segment cars have fallen sharply in recent months.

These were the top-selling models in October 2010:

1. Ford Fiesta

2. Volkswagen Golf

3. Vauxhall Astra

4. BMW 3 Series

5. Ford Focus

6. Vauxhall Insignia

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