Brexit concerns dent sales of new motors

Scottish dealers record bigger fall than the UK as a whole last month. Picture: Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images
Scottish dealers record bigger fall than the UK as a whole last month. Picture: Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images
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Sales of new cars slipped into reverse last month, industry figures yesterday revealed, with the sharpest fall north of the Border.

Industry bosses urged ministers to boost economic confidence to help avoid further falls in the wake of the EU referendum result.

New car sales slipped 0.8 per cent, year-on-year, during June, according to the data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Across the UK, there were 255,766 vehicles registered last month.

In Scotland there was a decline of more than 7 per cent, while the Ford Fiesta was the best seller on both sides of the Border.

Sandy Burgess, chief executive of the Scottish Motor Trade Association, said: “There is no doubt that the pre-referendum uncertainty has caused unease within the market place for new vehicles.

“I would urge the UK and Scottish governments to work with all pace to mitigate the effects of any post-Brexit hangovers as quickly as possible.”

The SMMT said the figures were in line with expectations that the market would “stabilise” following a record 2015.

The trade body’s chief executive, Mike Hawes, noted that demand for new cars in the first half overall grew by 3.2 per cent to a record 1,420,636 registrations. He said: “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.”

IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer said: “While fleet sales were resilient in June, there will be the worry that fleet operators could increasingly delay and reduce replacement of their existing cars in a more uncertain and weaker economic environment. The sector must have serious concerns that consumers will cut back on buying new cars as a more uncertain environment… undermines willingness to make big-ticket purchases.”