New car market declines for fifth month in a row
The new car market has declined for a fifth consecutive month, industry figures show.
Just over 76,400 new cars were registered in August, down 6.4% on the same month last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Some 1.64 million new cars have been sold so far this year, a decrease of 2.4% on the same period in 2016.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: " August is typically a quiet month for the new car market as consumers and businesses delay purchases until the arrival of the new number plate in September.
"With the new 67-plate now available and a range of new models in showrooms, we anticipate the continuation of what are historically high levels of demand."
Mr Hawes added that the figures for 2017 so far are "broadly in line with expectations".
Demand for diesel cars continued to plummet, down 21.3% in August and 11.5% for the first eight months of the year.
Petrol models were up 3.8% last month, while a lternatively fuelled vehicles rose 58.3% to achieve a market share of 5.2%.
On Friday Volkswagen became the latest manufacturer to launch a scrappage scheme offering motorists thousands of pounds if they trade in an old diesel car for a new model.
The owners of diesel vehicles with emissions standards lower than Euro 5 - introduced in 2009/10 - can receive a discount of up to £6,000 if they swap it for a new VW model.
The German car-maker sparked outrage in September 2015 when it was found to have fitted software designed to cheat emissions tests to 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, including almost 1.2 million in the UK.
A number of manufacturers have previously announced similar incentives for trading in older, more polluting vehicles including Ford, Vauxhall, BMW and Toyota.
The Government recently announced plans to ban the sale of all conventional diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in a bid to meet European Union limits on harmful nitrogen dioxide pollution.
It is also considering funding measures to cut pollution with a tax on new diesel vehicles.