New car sales in the UK dropped 0.8 percent in June compared to the same month last year, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motoring Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The SMMT said that 255,766 new cars were registered in June, a figure which was expected as the market stabilises after a record 2015, and only the second time sales have dropped since February 2012.
The trade association said it was too early to tell if the EU referendum has had an impact on car sales.
Demand for new cars in first half of 2016 rose 3.2 percent
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said that demand for new cars in the first half of the year overall increased by 3.2 percent to a record 1,420,636 registrations.
In the first half of 2016 diesel and petrol registrations rose by 2.3 and 3.0 percent (respectively) compared to last year. Registrations for alternatively fuelled vehicles surged 21.3 percent compared to the first six months of 2015.
Too soon to determine whether Brexit has had an impact on the market
Mike Hawes said: “It is far too soon to determine whether the referendum result has had an impact on the new car market.
“The first six months saw strong demand at record levels but the market undoubtedly cooled over the second quarter.
“It’s important government takes every measure to restore business and economic confidence to avoid the market contracting in the coming months.”
Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global, was quoted by the BBC as saying that the car sales in the UK could be affected by the Brexit vote.
“There is widespread suspicion – including at the Bank of England – that heightened uncertainty following the vote to leave the European Union will particularly hit sales of big-ticket items such as cars and houses.”