New car sales down for 10th month

Registrations for new cars have fallen by 7.4% as car sales declined for the 10th month in a row.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a total of 137,746 new cars were registered last month, 7.4% fewer than in April 2010.

The figure brings this year's total so far to 696,082, an 8.5% reduction on the same period last year, which was boosted by the Government's car-scrappage scheme.

However, registrations were slightly above the SMMT's expectations despite the dip in sales in April, and its full-year sales forecast remains at 1.93 million.

The market is expected to recover next year, back above two million units, but the SMMT said that doubts remained over buyer confidence and from possible short-term supply constraints caused by the Japan earthquake.

The society added that it expected the market to slow this spring but make a recovery during the months between July and September.

Private sales, boosted by last year's scrappage scheme, have fallen nearly 20% in the first four months of 2011, but fleet and business demand has grown.

Meanwhile, diesel cars represented 52.7% of the total market last month.

Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf, Vauxhall Astra, Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Focus were some of top 10 selling models in April.

Copyright © Press Association 2011