The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has now officially revealed that new car registrations fell by 21.2% in September to 330,295 units.
AM was told by manufacturers last week that they were expecting a big drop numbers.
Volumes year-to-date were down by 7.5% to 1,794,419 units.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: “New car registrations have fallen for the fifth consecutive month and represent the most difficult economic conditions the industry has faced in 17 years.
“Government action is now needed to restore consumer confidence and boost demand in the real economy. The chancellor's pre-budget report should set out a package of measures to boost demand for new fuel-efficient cars and scrap plans for unfair increases in car tax.”
September registrations typically account for at least 17% of the annual total, running a close second to the March volume. This September was more than 120,000 units lower than the March figure, falling to its lowest level since the twice-yearly plate change system started in 1999.
Sue Robinson, director of the RMI national franchised dealers association (NFDA), said: "‘With consumer confidence at such a low ebb, September’s car sales figures are not a surprise in many respects. There is a real need for the Government to take action, so that consumer confidence does not fall any further."
Click here to see SMMT's September registrations by manufacturer.