Year to August sales are also down 4.2% to 1,409,936 units compared to the same period last year. However, diesel sales continued to rise, with registrations up by 2.4% so far this year, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Chris Macgowan, SMMT chief executive, put the drop down to interest rate rises and soaring fuel costs.
“Consumer confidence has clearly taken a knock in the last 18 months. The rise in fuel prices affects 30 million car owners and is also driving more to consider the benefits of switching to diesel power when buying a new car,” he said.
The MPV market jumped by 17.2% in July as the segment leading, and recently revised, Vauxhall Zafira featured inside the overall top 10 best sellers list for the fourth time this year.
The supermini segment has seen market share grow over the year-to-date. Overall two in every three new cars leaving showrooms are either superminis or small family cars.
The Ford Focus held onto the number one slot in both the month and year-to-date.
Diesel penetration hit 39% for the first time this year in July. The July market rose 5.9%, to help push volumes over the first seven months of the year up 12,170 units to 528,263 units, equal to a 37.5% market share, up from 35.1% a year ago. The Ford Focus remained the top selling diesel model in July and the year-to-date.