EU referendum blamed as new car sales fall eight per cent in July

A FALL in demand for new cars in Scotland has been blamed on “referendum uncertainty”.

The number of new registrations north of the Border was down by more than eight per cent last month compared to July 2015, while overall UK sales flatlined.

A total of 12,471 new cars were registered in Scotland in July, with the Ford Fiesta the most popular.

It means that total sales of new cars in Scotland for the first seven months of 2016 are down slightly – by 1.1 per cent – compared to the same period in 2015.

Sandy Burgess, chief executive of the Scottish Motor Trade Association, said that despite the dip order books for the new number plates in September were “strong at this early stage”.

However, he blamed the faltering sales, which were also reflected in statistics for June, on unease surrounding the run-up to and aftermath of the EU referendum vote.

Mr Burgess said: “There is no doubt that the pre-referendum uncertainty has caused unease within the market place for new vehicles.

“I would urge the UK and Scottish Governments to work with all pace to mitigate the effects of any “post Brexit” hangovers as quickly as possible to ensure that we are able to return to a stable market which can only be good news for everyone, manufacturers, dealers and consumers”.

The biggest year-on-year fall in demand in July occurred in the Lothian region, with a 16 per cent decrease in registrations, followed by Tayside which was down 13 per cent.

Only Fife was up slightly at 0.7 per cent.

The figures are drawn from national statistics pulled together by the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “After a healthy start to 2016 and record registrations in 2015 the market is showing signs of cooling.

“The automotive market is a vital part of the British economy and it’s important government delivers the economic conditions which instil business and consumer confidence.”

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