New car registrations were 55,305 last month which is down 17.5% from a year ago with the end of the car scrappage scheme and the fragile economy blamed.
However, so far this year, new car sales remain 13.2% higher at 1,300,413 units.
Registrations fell 17.5% in August to 55,305 units compared with scrappage-fuelled 2009.
Decline marks second consecutive fall, a pattern expected to continue through to year end.
Volumes, however, are up 13.2% to date against last year, at 1,300,413 units.
Full year forecast suggests 2010 registrations will finish at 2m, up 1.2% on 2009.
“New car registrations were down 17.5% 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.”
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Best selling cars in August
1. Ford Fiesta 2,660
2. Ford Focus 1,926
3. Vauxhall Astra 1,906
4. Vauxhall Corsa 1,629
5. BMW 3 Series 1,600
6. VW Golf 1,511
7. Nissan Qashqai 1,456
8. Vauxhall Insignia 1,193
9. VW Polo 1,193
10. Audi A3 1,037