LONDON -- UK new-car registrations fell for only the second time in more than four years in June, prompting an industry body to urge the government to boost economic confidence to avoid further drops after the country voted in a referendum to leave the European Union.
Sales in June fell 0.8 percent to 255,766 units, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said today.
The SMMT said it was too early to link the fall to the shock result of the June 23 referendum on membership in the EU, but nevertheless urged the government to help bolster confidence in the economy. Since the vote the value of the pound has plummet to a 31-year low point.
"It's important government takes every measure to restore business and economic confidence to avoid the market contracting in the coming months," SMMT CEO Mike Hawes said in a statement.
Six-month sales rose 3.2 percent to 1.42 million, the SMMT said.
Although car deliveries typically occur several weeks after purchase decisions and most of June's sales happened before the June 23 vote, there is normally a push by manufacturers at the end of each month to boost figures as much as possible, meaning the Brexit vote could have hit end-of-month demand.
Ratings agency Fitch said on Tuesday that there will probably be a decline in British new-vehicle sales due to slower economic growth and weaker consumer confidence.
• Download file, above right, for UK June and 6-month sales.
The UK's June sales were in contrast to the region's other major markets, which all reported sales increases. In Germany, Europe's No. 1 market, registrations rose 8 percent, while in France volume was up 0.8 percent. Italian sales increased 12 percent in June and in Spain, registrations jumped 11 percent.
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report