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2001 set to be 'record year' for new car registrations

The car industry is set to enjoy a record breaking year with sales well in-excess of 2.3m cars.

SMMT figures for September show registrations rose 25.4% to 443,265 units over last Septembers 353,494 units. Registrations by private buyers rose 29.4%, the largest rise in 12 consecutive months of growth. Total registrations were up 9.2% for the year to date at 1,962,700 units.

Alan Pulham, the RMI's franchised dealer director, said: “The car industry looks set to achieve an all-time high with sales for 2001 likely to be well in excess of 2.3 million cars. Falling interest rates continue to fuel customer confidence and value for money propositions.”

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan said: “In what was a very difficult month for everyone, we are delighted to announce this excellent news. Total September registrations were far better than we had predicted and the really positive thing is that private buyers were responsible for the sales surge.

“These figures show that car buying decisions do not seem to have been affected by the terrible events of September 11. They represent a clear vote of confidence by consumers in both the economy and strong competition in car showrooms.”

The SMMT has kept its full year forecast, however, at 2.3m registrations.

A number of manufacturers enjoyed 'best-ever' sales last month.

Mercedes-Benz enjoyed a record 12,897 registrations , a rise of 37.85 per cent, from 9,356 for the same month last year. The A-Class headed the surge. Its September registrations leapt 54.4 per cent to 2,912 units. The CLK-Class Coupé achieved 1,000 registrations, and the CLK-Class Cabriolet 590 – both better than ever before. The luxurious S-Class Saloon made 724 units last month – another record.

Seat UK enjoyed its best sales month ever with 5,696 new vehicles registered. This takes the brand to a total of 22,665 units sold year to-date, more than any overall full year's sales achievement. Sales for the month were up 76% on September 2000 and 38% up for the first nine months.

Mitsubishi Motors said it “outperformed the market” with September passenger car registrations up by 28.73%, and year to date registrations up 9.7%, against the overall market increase of 9.2%.

MG Rover, while enjoying year-on-year sales increases, remained stoical.

A spokesperson for the company, said: "While we are encouraged by our September sales, our focus is now firmly fixed on the last quarter to deliver a good full year performance."

MG Rover registered 17,808 new cars in September, compared to 12,943 in September 2000, a 37.6% increase. It gives the marque a 4.02% market share, up from 3.71%.

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