"While the market remains at a very high level, the recent decline in business confidence, caused by economic and political uncertainty, is now having an impact on van registrations".
There were 158,192 new units registered, with overall demand down by 12.2% in the month, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
There were marked declines across all sectors, with business and fleet demand down -26.8% and -13.0% respectively.
Meanwhile, petrol registrations were up by 2.7% during the same period, while cars known as Alternative Fuel Vehicles, or AFVs - mostly hybrids and electric cars - shot up by a massive 36.9%.
In particular, the data indicates that diesel auto sales have seen a significant drop when compared to the same period in 2017, with registrations having fallen by almost a third (29.9%).
The UK new auto market declined for a seventh consecutive month in October, with diesel demand falling by nearly a third, with 29.9% fewer registrations.
Hawes said: "Consumers need urgent reassurance that the latest, low emission diesel cars on sale will not face any bans, charges or other restrictions, anywhere in the United Kingdom".
"We urge the government to use the forthcoming Autumn Budget to restore stability to the market, encouraging the purchase of the latest low emission vehicles".
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Vehicle sales are also likely to be hampered by mounting pressure to restrict auto finance deals and unsecured consumer credit, Archer said, with the Bank of England having shown mounting concern and called for a more responsible approach, particularly due to concerns over the resale value of cars at the end of Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) deals.
SMMT has attributed the drop in registrations to fears over potential bans for diesel cars from towns and city centres as local authorities respond to concerns over air quality. 24,968 new LCVs joined British roads in October, a -7.4 per cent fall compared with the same month previous year.
Registrations fell for the seventh month in a row, blamed on confusion over pollution measures and falling consumer confidence. The SMMT forecast that the market would end the year at 2.56m vehicles - a 4.7% decline, with a further decline of 5.4% next year. According to the data, alternatively fuelled vehicle registrations were up 36.9% compared to 2016, with 8,244 cars having been registered during the month.
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