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UK car sales fell 6 percent in January as diesel demand slumps

LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - British new car registrations fell 6.3 percent in January, in part due to customers being put off from buying diesel models which politicians have targeted over air quality concerns, an industry body said.

Total new sales stood at 163,615 units with demand for diesel vehicles declining by an annual 25.6 percent while petrol cars rose 8.5 percent, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

"The ongoing and substantial decline in new diesel car registrations is concerning, particularly since the evidence indicates consumers and businesses are not switching into alternative technologies, but keeping their older cars running," SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said. (Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by William Schomberg)