New car sales dipped again last month and are set to continue to fall for the rest of the year, it was announced today.
A total of 55,305 new cars were registered in August 2010 - 17.5% fewer than in the car scrappage-fuelled month of August 2009, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
The decline last month followed a fall in July this year - the first for 12 months.
After a huge dip in sales in the first half of 2009, registrations for the second half of last year soared when the car scrappage scheme was introduced.
With the scheme now over, it was expected that sales for the second half of 2010 would show a decline.
Despite falls over the last two months, new car sales for the year so far (January to August) are up 13.2% compared with the first eight months of last year.
The SMMT reckons that year-end registrations will reach 2.0 million, which would represent a 1.2% rise on the figure for 2009.
It is also forecast that this month's registrations - which feature the new "60" number plates - will be about 10% down on the September 2009 total of just under 368,000.
Diesel-fuelled cars took a record 52.6% share of the market last month. While sales of mini, supermini and lower-medium sector cars fell last month, registrations of multi-purpose and sports vehicles rose, as did sales of executive and luxury saloons.
SMMT chief executive Pal Everitt said: "New car registrations were down in August and conditions will remain challenging through the rest of the year.
"The industry enjoyed a better-than-expected first half of the year and, despite the difficulties, SMMT is forecasting that new car registrations will close just ahead of 2009 figures."
These were the best-selling models in August 2010:
1. Ford Fiesta
2. Ford Focus
3. Vauxhall Astra
4. Vauxhall Corsa
5. BMW 3 Series
6. Volkswagen Golf
7. Nissan Qashqai
8. Vauxhall Insignia
9. Volkswagen Polo
10. Audi A3