The UK new car market declined by -4.1 per cent in April, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Registrations by private motorists fell last month, down -10.3 per cent, after a rise of more than 26 per cent in April 2018.
Declines were recorded across most vehicle segments, with registrations of popular supermini and small family cars falling most significantly, down -14.1 per cent and -10.6 per cent.
Demand for lower volume luxury saloons and sports cars rose while the dual purpose segment also grew, by +18.4 per cent to 40,580 units.
These vehicles are now the third most popular body type, with registrations tripling since 2012.
Diesel registrations fell again, but the pace of decline slowed significantly, down -9.4 per cent.
Petrol demand also dropped, by -3.0 per cent.
Alternatively fuelled vehicles
Overall, alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) registrations grew by 12.7 per cent, with 10,254 leaving showrooms.
Petrol electric hybrids remained the most popular choice, up 31.1 per cent to 6,810 units.
Battery electric cars also recorded a strong uplift, from 929 to 1,517 units, which still only represents 0.9 per cent of the market.
Meanwhile, zero emission-capable plug-in hybrids experienced a significant decline, down -34.4 per cent in April and -20.4 per cent year-to-date.
Manufacturers are investing heavily to bring ultra-low and zero emission cars to market, with some 40 plug-in models now available in showrooms, and over 20 more expected to arrive in 2019.
“Road to zero”
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While it’s great to see buyers respond to the growing range of pure electric cars on offer, they still only represent a tiny fraction of the market and are just one of a number of technologies that will help us on the road to zero.
“Industry is working hard to deliver on this shared ambition, providing ever cleaner cars to suit every need.
“We need policies that help get the latest, cleanest vehicles on the road more quickly and support market transition for all drivers.
“This includes investment in infrastructure and long term incentives to make new technologies as affordable as possible.”