LONDON May 4 British new car registrations
slumped by 20 percent in April, the biggest year-on-year drop
for over six years after record demand in March when customers
brought forward purchases to avoid a tax hike, an industry body
said on Thursday.
Sales fell 19.8 percent to 152,076 vehicles last month,
traditionally a period when fewer vehicles are sold after a new
licence plate series is issued in March, the Society of Motor
Manufacturers and Traders said.
Demand in March was boosted to a record high as individuals
and businesses in Europe's second biggest autos market sought to
avoid paying an increase in excise duty that came into force
from April 1 for the most polluting vehicles.
Year-to-date registrations are up 1.1 percent, despite
forecasts that demand would fall by at least 5 percent this year
due to Brexit and after consecutive record performances.
The SMMT said it expected demand to stabilise over the rest
of the year.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas, editing by Andy Bruce)