New car sales in Britain fall slightly in August

New car sales in Britain fell slightly in August as electric car registrations surged, according to figures released here on Thursday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Data showed that 92,573 new cars were registered across the United Kingdom in August, 1.6 percent less than in the same period last year.

Demand declined in both the private and fleet sectors by 1.7 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.

Diesel registrations fell for the 29th month in a row, albeit at a slower pace.

Zero emission cars registered the biggest growth, up 377.5 percent year-on-year to 3,147 units. But plug-in hybrid registrations continued to drop, down 71.8 percent to only 907 vehicles.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of SMMT, said: “August is typically the new car market’s quietest month so the huge increase in EV (electric vehicle) registrations is very visible but especially welcome.”

“To support a smooth transition and deliver environmental gains now, we need a long-term government commitment to measures that give consumers confidence to invest in the latest technologies that best suit their needs,” Hawes said.