NEW car registrations rose 7.9 per cent in February 2013, according to the SMMT – now the 12th successive month of growth.
66,749 units were registered in February 2013, while registrations year-to-date were up 10.3 per cent to 210,392. In fact, so strong was the growth that February secured the highest private-market growth since the end of the Scrappage Scheme in 2010.
The growth comes in spite of the fact that February is typically the quietest month for registrations across the year – as buyers and fleets wait for the registration plate change in March.
It’s thought that the sudden boost may come from a flood of buyers attempting to avoid this year’s March ’13’ plate – not necessarily for superstitious reasons, but perhaps even out of a fear of resale values, according to research by Carbuzz.co.uk.
‘UK new car registrations have risen every month for the last year with February continuing the trend, growing 7.9% year-on-year boosted by the highest increase in private consumer demand since spring 2010,’ said Mike Baunton, interim chief executive of the SMMT.
‘However, February is traditionally a low volume month as motorists look forward to the plate-change in March, but attractive new car deals are sustaining the market. New models are delivering ever greater fuel efficiency, practicality, refinement, technology and predictable ownership costs, so motorists are seeing the benefit of new car purchases.’
Despite the plate change, the SMMT isn’t predicting a slump for March 201 however – but a slight rise over last year instead. Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, also suggests that registration figures will remain positive.
‘While the rising cost of fuel will be playing on many motorists’ minds, consumers continue to drive car sales higher for the twelfth month running,’ he commented.
‘With the price of other forms of travel also increasing, new technology means fuel efficient vehicles are proving to be not only convenient, but also more cost effective in many cases.
‘With the launch of the new plate in March, we expect sales to continue to hold firm. The 13-plate is already proving popular with many of our clients reporting early signs of strong sales.’