Following the introduction of higher VED rates in April, fleet and business registrations of new cars fell by 12.86% according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). According to the data, corporate car registrations fell to 92,164 this year from 105,771 last April. 152,076 new cars were registered in total during April 2017. This represents a 19.8% decline, while private registrations also fell by 28.4%. This poor performance follows a very successful March, when buyers overwhelmingly opted to purchase cars before the introduction of altered VED rates. 562,337 new cars were registered during March, more than doubling the January's and February's totals combined. Fleet and business registrations accounted for 288,586 registrations out of the total, a 51% share of the market and a 12.5% increase on March 2016's total. Mike Hawes, chief executive at SMMT, said: "With the rush to register new cars and avoid VED tax rises before the end of March, as well as fewer selling days due to the later Easter, April was always going to be much slower. It's important to note that the market remains at record levels as customers still see many benefits in purchasing a new car. We therefore expect demand to stabilise over the year as the turbulence created by these tax changes decreases." Chris Bosworth, director of strategy at Close Brothers Motor Finance, added: 'The record-breaking golden period for new car registrations always had to come to an end at some point, and given the highly volatile economic climate, it's not surprising today's figures show a decrease in demand for new cars. We expect the turbulent political landscape, rising inflation and its' impact on consumer spending will also hinder new car growth in the months ahead." Some manufacturers worst affected by the decline in registrations include Jeep (down 72%), DS (54%), Fiat (49%) and Volkswagen (41%). However, some organisations were able to defy the trend for the month. Seat, Mercedes-Benz and BMW registrations increased by 12%, 11% and 3%, respectively. Lauren Pamma, head of fleet consultancy at Lex Autolease, said: 'A slight slowdown in fleet registrations in April was no surprise. However, it's encouraging that fleet and business registrations still account for more than half the total. "Aside from the usual seasonal peak, the strong figures in March were partly due to businesses pulling forward vehicle procurement ahead of changes to Vehicle Excise Duty which came into force on 1st April. 'With fuel choice a hot topic beyond just the motor industry, it's more important than ever that businesses choose the right vehicle for their needs, weighing up the commercial and environmental concerns across the lifetime of the contract.î