New car registration in the UK in January fell by 11.5 percent compared to the same period year ago, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said in a statement today.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the decline was in line with its forecast and partly reflected the ending of the car scrappage scheme.

The loss of the scrappage incentive scheme is expected to adversely affect the market during the first half of 2011. Overall volumes are forecast to decline by 5% in 2011 to 1.93 million cars.

New car registrations fell by 11.5% in January. This is in line with SMMT forecasts and marks the beginning of a challenging year for the UK motor industry, said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive.

Consumer confidence is low and it is important that the government uses the March Budget to help relieve some of the financial pressure on motorists by freezing fuel duty, while providing stability and certainty on motoring taxes. Despite the challenging conditions, the demand for low CO2 emitting and highly fuel efficient cars continues to grow.

Over 65,000 new diesel cars were sold in the UK last month compared with close to 62,000 petrol models, said the SMMT.

The Ford Focus was the best selling new car in January and also the top selling diesel model in the month followed by Vauxhall with 12 percent.