The number of new cars sold in the UK fell for the first time since 2011 in the last year, according to early industry figures.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported a drop of around 5.6% – the biggest fall since 2009.
It said approximately 2.54 million new cars were registered in 2017 compared with 2.69 million the previous year – with diesel sales continuing to provide the main drag.
Demand for diesels fell by 31% last month and 17% over the year, the SMMT said, ahead of the publication of the full report due later on Friday morning.
:: Biggest drop in cars produced for UK since 2011
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said 2017 had proved “very, very volatile”, with “confusion” over the fate of diesels combining with Brexit-linked uncertainty to hit consumer and business confidence.
He said Government plans to ban the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars from 2040, along with a car tax hike on new diesel models in November’s Budget, had also damaged demand.
Video: Talk of bans ‘undermines’ new car market
New car sales to private motorists were down 6.5%, fleet down 4.4% and business down 7.7%.
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The SMMT admitted it was not all doom and gloom as 2017’s figures still represented the third best year for new car registrations in the past decade.
But it said it was expecting a similar fall in volumes in the current year – of between 5-7% – with diesels likely to face further pain.