New car registrations in August were down by almost a fifth when compared to the same month in 2007, it has been revealed.
According to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), just 63,225 new vehicles were registered over the course of the month.
This represents an 18.6 per cent drop on 2007’s figure and is the lowest number recorded since 1996, with industry figures citing low consumer confidence as the principal factor behind the downward trend, which is being mirrored across European markets.
The SMMT’s statistics also showed that, though sales of diesel-powered vehicles was down over the period, their market share continued to grow, with the VW Gold diesel the strongest car in this category, which has been given a boost by consumers looking to cut back the cost of running a car amid rising oil prices.
"As consumers tighten their belts and move to more efficient models, diesels remain an effective choice," a spokesman for the group told the BBC.
This drive for efficiency was reflected in the fact that the Vauxhall Corsa and the Ford Focus, both small cars, were the two biggest selling models in August.