May registrations rose 10.4%, to 194,113 units, on the corresponding month last year. Fleet and business sales accounted for 57.8%, slightly up on the year-to-date total. The figures are believed to be underpinned by high levels of preregistering, a practice that Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers hopes to eliminate when he delivers his final conclusions to the Competition Commission's recommendations.
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Christopher Macgowan said: “Car buyers are taking advantage of the spectacular deals on offer in dealerships as manufacturers continue to position their products competitively. As new car prices continue to fall, it is an exceptionally good time to purchase a car.”
Ford market share continued to fall, from 17.57% to 16.67%, though registrations rose from 30,900 units in May 1999 to 32,352 with Focus the top seller.
The SMMT said the market remained on course for 2.2m registrations this year.