The drop from 67,006 car registrations in August 2009 to 55,305 this year has been partly attributed to the abolition of the car scrappage scheme.
The largest percentage point drop was in the registration of petrol cars, which are down 37.8 per cent to 25,505 compared to 40,998 in August 2009.
Volumes, however, remain buoyant - despite the second successive fall in registrations - and are up 13.2 per cent to date at 1,300,413.
Of that total, diesel cars accounted for 576,627 (+17.2 per cent), petrol 709,751 (+9.3 per cent) and AFVs 14,035 (+81.8 per cent).
Looking forward, the market for new ‘60’ plate cars is expected to decline by around 10 per cent in September, from 367,929 units last year. The market is forecast to slow from the current annual running rate of 2.146 million units to 2.018 million units by the end of the year.
‘New car registrations were down 17.5 per cent in August and conditions will remain challenging through the rest of the year,’ said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. ‘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.’