June 5, 2018 / 8:17 AM / a year ago

UK new car sales rise for second month in a row

LONDON, June 5 (Reuters) - British new car registrations rose for the second month in a row in May, recording an annual 3.4 percent increase as growing demand from individual consumers offset a decline from business buyers, according to data from a car industry body.

Sales in Europe’s second-largest autos market had fallen for a year due to buyers shunning diesel over fears of possible new taxes and weaker consumer confidence in the wake of the Brexit vote, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has said.

But after an increase in April, demand rose to 192,649 units in May, boosted by a 10 percent increase among private buyers after a sharp fall in the same month last year.

“May’s growth, albeit on the back of large declines last year, is encouraging and suggests the market is now starting to return to a more natural running rate,” said SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes.

Demand for petrol rose by an annual 23.5 percent last month, while diesel fell 23.6 percent.

Reporting by Costas Pitas Editing by William Schomberg

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