New passenger car registrations fell by nearly 20% in April, with a total of 152,076 units registered, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Trading (SMMT).

Year-to-date the market is still higher than last year by 1.1% with a total of 972,092 cars registered in the first four months. Petrol, diesel and alternative fuel vehicle registrations all decreased.

"As expected, following an all-time high result in March, April saw a -19.8% decline in new vehicle sales as a result of a number of factors," said Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), representing franchised car and commercial vehicle dealers in the UK. "Those included the increase in VED on April 1, which prompted buyers to bring their purchases forward into March; and Easter falling during the month. Intelligence from NFDA members suggests that footfall has remained stable, but there is an element of uncertainty, particularly due to the upcoming elections, which is encouraging customers to delay their purchases", 

Robinson continued, “Alternatively fuelled vehicles saw a slight decline of -1.3% following 47 consecutive months of growth. It is important that the Government continues to support motorists who are willing to switch to greener cars.

“April is traditionally one of the quieter months for new car retail. Positively, year-to-date the market remains up by 1.1% and with record low interest rates and record high employment levels consumer demand is expected to remain stable going forward.”