NEW car sales in Scotland have fallen by nearly a quarter because of uncertainty over Brexit and a "demonisation of diesel", a leading trade body has claimed.

The Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) said that the market has suffered a decline of 24.17 per cent compared to November 2016.

It said that only11,585 new cars were registered last month, compared to 15,278 the previous year.

The Strathclyde region was particularly bad, with a 36.55 per cent decline on the same period in 2016.

SMTA Chief Executive Sandy Burgess said uncertainty over Brexit plans were weighing on drivers' minds, as well as concern over diesel engines.

He said: "There can be no doubt that we are now seeing the full impact of the slowdown in the economy exacerbated by the double whammy brought about by the consumer concerns over Brexit and the continued process of 'the demonisation of diesel' by the politicians across the UK.

"The fact that the used car market has continued to grow, especially in newer models with diesel engines, pays testimony to the resilience and determination that exists within our industry to meet the consumer demands to drive fresh, fuel efficient and safer vehicles, thereby contributing to a better environment for all."

Both business and fleet sub-sectors also saw a fall in registrations for the month, at 47.52 per cent and 34.36 per cent respectively, while retail was down by 9.48 per cent.

Mr Burgess added: "The circumstances that we find our dealers having to trade in are far from ideal, we are now looking at a UK market that is unlikely to exceed the 2.5 million mark and the outlook for 2018 is not at all promising.

"The respective governments have to take responsibility to address the issues that they alone can control and allow some clarity and thereby confidence to return to a market place upon which some 48,000 people rely on in Scotland alone."

According to the SMTA dfigures, the Ford Fiesta was the most registered car in November with 461 units, followed by the Mini at 347 and then the Ford Focus at 281.

Ford were also the top sellers for the month, with Vauxhall in second and Audi in third place.