A 4.8% drop in private registrations during June closed off a challenging second quarter for the UK’s franchised dealers.
Overall June new car sales dropped 4.9% year-on-year, to 1.27 million units, leaving the annual market 3.4% down at the half-year point.
An overall decline in buyer confidence is to blame, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, although it believes confusion over low emission zones and lack of subsidies for plug-in hybrids have also affected the market.
All market sectors were affected in June – private down 4.8%, fleets down 2.5% and business registrations down 37.1%.
The SMMT said the low emission vehicle segment was also tipped into decline for the first time since April 2017 by a slump in orders for plug-in hybrids and mild hybrids
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, criticised the Government's lack of help.
He said: “Another month of decline is worrying but the fact that sales of alternatively fuelled cars are going into reverse is a grave concern. Manufacturers have invested billions to bring these vehicles to market but their efforts are now being undermined by confusing policies and the premature removal of purchase incentives.
"If we are to see widespread uptake of these vehicles, which are an essential part of a smooth transition to zero emission transport, we need world-class, long-term incentives and substantial investment in infrastructure.
“Fleet renewal remains the quickest way to address environmental concerns today and consumers should have the confidence – and support – to choose the new car that best meets their driving needs, whatever the technology, secure in the knowledge that it is safer and cleaner than ever before.”