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Car sales dip last month

  • Sales down 1.7%
  • Rate of decline slowing
  • Ford Fiesta still UK's biggest seller
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New car registrations have fallen for the 11th consecutive month, but the rate of decline has slowed to its lowest level according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

May's figures were down 1.7% on 2010 levels, with fleet and diesel orders both growing 10% to prop up the market.

The SMMT's chief executive, Paul Everitt, said: 'Consumers remain cautious, but with significantly improved fuel economy, service plans and more affordable finance, there is great value on offer across the market.'

Just over 846,000 cars have been sold during the first five months of 2011 - 7.3% down on the same period last year - but the SMMT is holding its full-year sales forecast at 1.93 million vehicles.

Private sales continue to decline
Private purchases fell by 15.3% in May and by 18.9% over the year-to-date. Diesel sales have risen by 10.7% and fleet demand is up by 11.1%. The VW Golf remains the top-selling diesel.

Registrations of superminis posted their first rise in registrations since June 2010, with growth also seen in executive cars in May, possibly due to several new and face-lifted cars in these segments.

Best-sellers May 2011
May
Ford Fiesta
Ford Focus
Volkswagen Golf
Vauxhall Corsa
Vauxhall Astra
Vauxhall Insignia
BMW 3 Series
MINI
Nissan Qashqai
Volkswagen PassatSales
8135
6492
5541
5368
5011
4205
4058
3139
3083
2981Year-to-date
Ford Fiesta
Ford Focus
Vauxhall Corsa
Volkswagen Golf
Vauxhall Astra
Vauxhall Insignia
Volkswagen Polo
BMW 3 Series
Nissan Qashqai
Peugeot 207Sales
42,814
35,770
30,792
27,615
27,161
20,021
19,647
17,332
16,074
14,968