The UK new car market dropped by 4.1 per cent in April, according to figures.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has said the month saw 161,064 units registered, the second lowest April volume since 2012 but following a double-digit increase the previous year.
Registrations by private motorists fell last month, down 10.3 per cent, after a rise of more than 26 per cent in April 2018.
Fleet demand, meanwhile, remained stable, growing 2.9 per cent, with these businesses registering 2,498 more cars than in April 2018, the SMMT added.
The figures have also revealed that 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 but 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 – evidence of the consequences of prematurely removing upfront purchase incentives before the market is ready.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes 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.”