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'Be sure that 2001 will be a record year' - Macgowan

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is predicting that 2001 will be a record year for the new car market after October registrations rose 20.7% to an all-time high of 185,325 units – the fifth record month of 2001.

The market looks set to reach 2.38 million units this year. This is 100,000 units, or 4% more, than in 1989, the previous record year.

Registrations by private buyers soared 28.3% to 91,510 units in October, while fleet and business demand rose by 9.2% and 49.5% respectively. Year-to-date, the new car market is up 10.1 per cent at 2,148,025 units.

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan said: “While some analysts had predicted a slump, with claims that showroom traffic had slowed to a trickle, the reality has proved to be quite the opposite. We have seen huge market growth, once again led by private buyers.

“Consumers are confident. There's no doubt about that. They know a good deal when they see one and there are plenty of those at franchised dealers at the moment. No one would suggest that 13 consecutive months of growth will last forever. But equally we need to be careful not to talk down a very strong market for new car sales. Be sure that 2001 will be a record year.”

And Alan Pulham, franchised dealer director of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, said: “Today's figures show that UK car dealers are delivering consumer satisfaction at the highest level ever with excellent value for money deals being delivered to the market. The figures also reinforce the RMI prediction that 2001 will show the biggest car sales market ever, outshining the 1989 figure of 2.3 million.

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