NEW car registrations rose 5.9 per cent in March, according to the latest figures from the SMMT.
The total number of cars sold in March reached 394,806 units, with the SMMT stating that March was the ’13th consecutive month of growth in new car registrations’ – volumes now the highest since 2010, when the scrappage scheme was in full swing.
It’s thought that private car registrations lead the growth – up a hearty 11.2 per cent in quarter one of this year, and ‘better than expected’. Such was the increase that the SMMT suggests it ‘should support net growth in the market’ this year.
As was the case in February, sales of cars in the ‘mini’ segment saw a big rise – up 56.5 per cent on last year – and ‘double digit gains’ were had in the MPV market too. All segments, bar upper medium and luxury saloon, saw growth in March.
‘UK new car registrations out-performed expectations in March, the first month of the new 13-plate. The market increased more than 5 per cent on March 2012 to almost 395,000 units,’ said SMMT interim chief executive, Mike Baunton.
‘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.’
Richard Lowe, head of retail & wholesale at Barclays, however, suggested that recent budget announcements can only help future figures.
‘The cost of a tank of petrol remains a huge burden for many, even for those with smaller, fuel efficient vehicles,’ he said. ‘So the Government’s decision to scrap the planned duty rise, as part of last month’s Budget, will hopefully help keep car sales moving in the right direction’
Sue Robinson, director of the RMI’s national franchised dealers association, meanwhile, suggested that the results show that consumer confidence may be starting to grow.
‘It is positive that new car sales were up in March as retail demand continues to grow. Dealers reported strong interest in new cars by consumers who were encouraged into the showroom by strong manufacturer deals and competitive finance offers.
‘Although consumer confidence remains sluggish there are signs that it is starting to grow. The NFDA are hopeful that this is a trend that will continue through 2013.’