New car registrations in Britain fell 3.4% in May on a year ago, the latest evidence that a series of interest rate rises up to last August have dented Britons' appetite for major purchases, Reuters reported.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reportedly said there were 187,900 new car registrations last month compared with 179,457 units in April, which were down 4% on the same month last year.

Year to date registrations were down 6%, at 1,068,862 compared with 1,137,488 at the same time last year, Reuters added.

The SMMT, which is predicting a 4.6% decline in car registrations for the full year 2005, told Reuters the slowdown was generally in line with expectations.

"This month's figures remain stable, despite a slight dip compared to last year's near record levels. The industry is proving resilient as it rides out weakening consumer confidence and the short-term problems associated with MG Rover," SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan reportedly said in a release.