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New car sales recovery gathers pace
New car registrations rose for the third time this year in April – with the 3.3 per cent rise being the largest and most noteworthy of the year.
More significantly, it is private buyers that have led the growth, with retail sales growing by nearly 15 per cent in April.
142,322 new cars were registered in April, which has helped the year-to-date sales increase over 2011 figures grow to 1.4 per cent. This has actually led the SMMT to revise its full-year estimate for 2012 new car sales UPWARDS, to 1.95 million vehicles.
This would mean sales in 2012 exceed those of 2011, which will signal the new car market is starting to grow again after the weak 2011 performance.
What’s more, new car sales are expected to nudge the 2 million barrier once again in 2013.
Overall, the April new car sales total was just under 2 per cent better than the SMMT predicted, and has been driven by growing numbers of private buyers ordering new cars at dealers. The hefty 14.8 per cent increase in April means the year-to-date retail sales increase stands at 7.3 per cent.
This clear demonstration of consumer confidence has buoyed the car industry, said SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt. “A strong April new car market has raised confidence across the UK motor industry with registrations increasing 3.3%.
“We are seeing a steady increase in consumer confidence with growth in private demand, boosted by the arrival of a raft of new products. SMMT has increased its full year forecast to 1.95 million units, putting the market marginally ahead of 2011, indicating a period of relative stability.”
The strength of the retail market contrasted with a slowdown in fleet sales, though. They were down 3.4 per cent, with business sales plummeting by 11.2 per cent.
However, this could be due to company car business cycles: the March registration plate change clashes with the end of the financial year, which could have an impact on business decisions. The coming months will give a clearer picture of how company car sales are fairing.
The best selling car in April was, once again, the Ford Fiesta. It was almost 2,600 sales ahead of the second-placed Vauxhall Corsa, with the Ford Focus trailing in third place.
A surprise entrant in the top-10 best sellers list was the Fiat 500. This came in just behind the Vauxhall Insignia in 10th place, marking the return of Fiat to the UK top 10 sales chart for the first time in many years.
TOP 10 NEW CAR BEST SELLERS – APRIL 2012
1 Ford Fiesta
2 Vauxhall Corsa
3 Ford Focus
4 Vauxhall Astra
5 BMW 3 Series
6 Volkswagen Golf
7 Volkswagen Polo
8 Nissan Qashqai
9 Vauxhall Insignia
10 Fiat 500
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