Dip in new car registrations of 7.4 per cent

New car sales down for 10th successive month

New car registrations have fallen by 7.4 per cent as car sales declined for the 10th month in a row.

Just 137,746 new cars were registered last month, 7.4 per cent fewer than in April last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

This brings the total this year so far to 696,082, an 8.5 per cent reduction on the same period in 2010 which was boosted by the Government's car-scrappage scheme.

However registrations were still slightly above the SMMT's expectations and its full-year sales forecast remains at 1.93 million.

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

"New car registrations in April demonstrated continued stability in the marketplace," said SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt.

"The coming months will remain challenging, but we do expect to see a return to growth in the second half of the year."

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

Diesel cars represented 52.7 per cent of the total market last month.

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