The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has revealed that last month was a great month, even when considering that March is typically a strong month for car sales anyway. The number of new registrations was 6% up on the previous year, and that is acceleration – March last year was only up 2% on the 2011.
So what are the actual numbers? Well, there were 394,806 total registrations of vehicles with the new ‘13’ number plate. Of these, almost 205,000 were private (perhaps because of vigorous sales promotions), and around 190,000 were fleet and business. These higher-than-expected figures are particularly good news for UK car manufacture because the EU trend is decidedly downwards.
SMMT’s interim chief executive, Mike Baunton, said: ‘Despite ongoing economic concerns, consistent monthly growth in the market is an encouraging sign of returning consumer confidence as motorists are attracted to forecourts by new models and the latest technologies.’
For the car enthusiasts out there, the Ford Fiesta (made in Cologne) was the best selling model both in March and Q1 this year and most of the market’s growth in the last year has been thanks to private registrations – so it’s not just rich companies propping up the figures. Furthermore, total registrations in the last 12 months were up 7.2% (140,000) to almost 2.1 million units compared with the previous year.
And with March marking the 13th consecutive month of registrations growth, it’s fair to say the UK motor trade is steering its way through economic gloom quite nicely.