New car registrations rose by 3.3% in April to 142,322 units and the private market led the growth.
According to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), registrations in the private market grew by 14.8% in April and the forecast for the size of the market this year has been revised up to 1.95 million.
The growth in registrations in April comes on top of a weak 2011 performance. Total registrations to April are some 18% below the 2007, pre-recession level, but 15% above the low of 2009.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: “A strong April new car market has raised confidence across the UK motor industry with registrations increasing 3.1%.
“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 market over the January-April period rose 1.4% or 9,796 units to 705,878 units. The SMMT believes the market is stabilising and during the month the annual running rate surpassed 1.95 million units for the first time since October.
SMMT has revised upwards its full year 2012 forecast to 1.948 million units, a modest net 0.4% rise in volumes over 2011’s 1.941 million units. Further 2.6% growth, to 1.999 million units, is forecast for the 2013 market.
The market share for petrol cars grew in April, although over the first four months of the year diesel and alternatively-fuelled car registrations have shown volume and market share growth.
Small car demand (mini and supermini) rose strongly in April, as too did volumes of dual purpose segment cars. The executive and sports car markets also rose, showing diverse market growth across vehicle segments.
The Ford Fiesta was the best-selling model in April and over the first four months of 2012.