LONDON, May 4 (Reuters) - British new car registrations slumped by 20 percent in April, the biggest year-on-year drop for over six years after record demand in March when customers brought forward purchases to avoid a tax hike, an industry body said on Thursday.
Sales fell 19.8 percent to 152,076 vehicles last month, traditionally a period when fewer vehicles are sold after a new licence plate series is issued in March, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said.
Demand in March was boosted to a record high as individuals and businesses in Europe’s second biggest autos market sought to avoid paying an increase in excise duty that came into force from April 1 for the most polluting vehicles.
Year-to-date registrations are up 1.1 percent, despite forecasts that demand would fall by at least 5 percent this year due to Brexit and after consecutive record performances.
The SMMT said it expected demand to stabilise over the rest of the year. (Reporting by Costas Pitas, editing by Andy Bruce)