November 5, 2018 / 5:36 AM / 13 days ago

Fall in UK new car sales eases in October: Industry data

FILE PHOTO: Imported cars are parked in a storage area at Sheerness port, Sheerness, Britain, October 24, 2017. Picture taken October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - The sharp year-on-year decline in British new car registrations eased last month after a hefty drop in September, but the market still remained depressed by uncertainty about the future of diesel vehicles, an auto trade association said on Monday.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said new car registrations in October were 2.9 percent lower compared with a year earlier at 153,599 vehicles, a sharp improvement on the annual decline of 20.5 percent in September.

However, looking at the 10 months to the end of October, sales were 7.2 percent lower than for the same period of 2017 at 2.064 million, only a modest improvement on the 7.5 percent annual decline recorded up to the end of September.

“Vehicle excise duty upheaval, regulatory changes and confusion over diesel have all made their mark on the market this year,” SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said.

Model changes and backlogs at test houses conducting new emissions certification continued to cause shortages across some brands, the SMMT added.

Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Kate Holton

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