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UK car sales fall 9.3% in July says motor trade body

New car registrations fell 9.3% in July from a year earlier, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The government said last month it was to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide threaten public health.

Delayed impact

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics said the continuing fall in sales showed consumers were now holding back on "big-ticket purchases" because of a lack of confidence rather than just a shift in the timing of purchases.

Earlier this year, many customers had brought forward car purchases ahead of changes to Vehicle Excise Duty in April.

Mr Tombs warned that financial deals to buy cars may become more expensive, and the price of cars could rise by about 3% in both 2018 and 2019 because of the weaker pound.

"Car sales tend to lag consumer confidence by about six months - many of the cars registered in July will have been ordered several months ago - so the recent post-election slump in sentiment indicates that the downturn has further to run," he added.