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UK car sales rise 1.6 pct in September to hit new record

LONDON Oct 5 New car registrations in Britain rose 1.6 percent year-on-year in September to hit a new record, an industry body said on Wednesday, with strong demand from business buyers compensating for a fall in sales to individual customers for the sixth month in a row.

Registrations hit a record 469,696 units last month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said, suggesting the Brexit vote has yet to hurt Europe's second-biggest car market, although many purchases are made months in advance so any effect may take time to be felt.

"The ability of the market to maintain this record level of demand will depend on the ability of government to overcome political uncertainty and safeguard the conditions that underpin consumer appetite," Chief Executive Mike Hawes said.

September, one of two months each year when new licence plates are issued, is a key month for the industry and accounts for nearly 20 percent of total annual sales. (Reporting by Costas Pitas. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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