First fall in car sales for a year
New car sales for July were 136,446, a fall of 13.2% compared with the same period 12 months ago.
Overall sales up
The end of the scrappage scheme and a fragile economic recovery have been blamed for the slump, but overall sales for 2010 remain 15% up on the first seven months of last year.
The SMMT's chief executive, Paul Everitt, said: 'A drop in private registrations compared with the scrappage-fuelled months of 2009 was expected.
'Subdued consumer confidence and a still-fragile economic recovery make the outlook for the remainder of 2010 challenging, but a stronger-than-expected first half means full year volumes are still forecast to exceed 2009's total.'
Diesel sales remain strong
Despite the fall in overall sales for July, diesel sales hit record highs and accounted for more than half of the market at 50.6%.
While diesels are often cost-efficient as company cars, don’t assume that they’ll save a private motorist money through increased economy. Use our calculator to work out whether a petrol or a diesel model will be cheaper for you.
VAT boost for industry
Despite the fall in post-scrappage sales, experts believe the motor industry could receive another boost before the end of the year, with buyers bringing forward the purchase of new cars to beat the 2.5% increase in VAT. The new rate of 20% comes into effect in January.
The SMMT has forecast that more than two million new cars will be sold in 2010.