Latest figures from the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) show that consumer new car finance volumes were up by 21 per cent in March compared with March 2013, and by 23 per cent overall in the first quarter of 2014.
The percentage of private new car sales financed by FLA members in the 12 months to March 2014 was 74.8 per cent.
The consumer used car finance market reported its strongest growth so far in 2014, with new business volumes 29 per cent higher in March than the same month last year. As a result, volumes were up by 24 per cent in quarter one.
Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and the chief economist at the FLA, said: ‘Growth in the consumer motor finance market showed no sign of weakening in March.
‘Personal contract purchase remains the most popular finance option when consumers buy a new car from dealerships.
‘It has also grown in popularity in the used car market, but the majority of used cars financed in the showroom are on hire purchase.’
Meanwhile, asset finance new business grew by 17 per cent in March compared with the same month last year and was 13 per cent higher in the first quarter of 2014 than in quarter one 2013.
Finance for plant and machinery and business equipment saw the strongest growth in quarter one 2014, up by 21 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. Growth in commercial vehicle finance remained robust at 19 per cent.
Kilkelly added: ‘In Q1 2014, the asset finance industry returned its best first quarter performance for five years, and the pattern of growth suggests a broad-based recovery in business investment.’