September car-sales plunge expected

A steep plunge for September new car sales is set to be revealed - despite the launch of the new 58 registration plates.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders are expected to be well down on September 2007's monthly sales total of more than 419,000 cars.

Until this summer, new car sales had held up well compared with other consumer spending.

A move towards greener motoring and smaller cars has fuelled the market, as had a series of tempting offers from manufacturers keen to shift stock.

But new car sales slipped 6.1% in June, and were down 13% in July. When August new registrations tumbled 18.6% to 63,225, it signalled that the economic downturn had finally reached the motor industry.

The August sales were the worst figures since 1966, although until 1999 August was the new number plate month - with consequently swollen sales figures - before the motor industry decided to introduce new plates twice a year, in March and September.

The August figures took the new car sale total for the first eight months of this year to a level 3.8% down on the January-August 2007 total.

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