The new car market fell for the fifth consecutive month in a row in July, according to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

In July, 157,198 new cars left showrooms, a fall of 4.1%, with the SMMT blaming political and economic uncertainty and confusion over future government policy on different fuel types.

Fleet registrations fell by 4.7% during the month with 87,311 cars being registered during the month.

True fleet registrations dropped by 4.8%

Registrations of diesel vehicles fell for the 28th month, down 22.1%, while petrols remained stable, with 2,646 more registrations than in July 2018, the SMMT said. Hybrid electric cars increased by 34.2% with 7,758 of these being low-emission vehicles.

Meanwhile, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles continued their recent decline, down 49.6%, however, demand for battery electric vehicles shot up 158.1%, resulting in a 1.4% market share, the highest monthly market share on record.

“Despite yet another month of decline in the new car market, it’s encouraging to see substantial growth in zero emission vehicles. Thanks to manufacturers’ investment in these new technologies over many years, these cars are coming to market in greater numbers than ever before,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “If the UK is to meet its environmental ambitions, however, government must create the right conditions to drive uptake, including long-term incentives and investment in infrastructure. The fastest way to address air quality concerns is through fleet renewal so buyers need to be given the confidence to invest in the new, cleaner vehicles that best suit their driving needs, regardless of how they are powered.”