LONDON -- British new car sales fell 0.8 percent on the year in September, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
New-car registrations totalled 332,476 last month and the UK is on track to meet its forecast for 1.92 million registrations this year, down 5.3 percent on the year, the SMMT said.
However, it revised down its forecast for 2012 to 1.96 million units, due to continued weakness in UK domestic demand and economic uncertainty in Europe.
UK car sales are usually boosted in September by a change in vehicle numberplates, and the SMMT said growth in fleet sales supported the market.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Autofacts automotive analyst Michael Gartside said September UK sales were positive given the deteriorating financial and economic environment, both in the UK and the wider European and global markets.
He said the divide in the UK market continues and the September numbers were clearly supported by fleet/business demand which grew by 7.9 percent while private registrations fell by 9.3 percent.
"We predict that demand will start to weaken noticeably in the final quarter and we therefore maintain our forecast of 1.9m units for the full year," he said. "Given the current economic climate we see little reason for optimism next year and forecast new car registrations of 1.9-1.95 million units for 2012."
Source: Reuters; Paul McVeigh contributed