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New car sales rise for fifth month in a row

New car registrations rose 7.3% in February to 79,151 units and year-to-date figures were up 3.2% to 267,059 units.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders used the figures to again attack critics of the car industry who have been claiming not enough is being done by car makers to bring UK pre-tax new car prices in line with those in Europe.

“After four consecutive months of growth and with a change to the 'Y' plate on 1 March, we might have expected a dip in new car sales in February. But last month's rise, once again driven by private buyers, shows that the market is in an extremely healthy state,” said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan.

“Sophisticated consumers in this country have not been fazed by conflicting car price reports", he added. "They know where to go to get the best possible deal and these figures show that they are voting for the UK with their feet and wallets."

Alan Pulham, Retail Motor Industry Federation franchised dealer director, said: "We are delighted that the market is continuing to grow, with new car registrations rising 7.3% in February 2001 to 79, 151 units. It is especially good news to see the return of the private buyer to the showroom, with sales increasing 15.4% in February.

"This boosts the market share to 39.7% for the month and 44.4% for the year to date."

New car sales in the final quarter of 2000 were the strongest on record. Private sales took 39.7% of the market last month compared to 36.9% in February 2000. In the first two months of the year private sales rose 24.7%. Fleet sales rose by 4.4% in February to 42,584 units.

Ford had the highest market share in February with 21.32%, Vauxhall had 12.92%, Peugeot 8.29%, Volkswagen 7.34% and Renault 7.15%.

February 2001 sales
Ford Focus 6,800
Ford Mondeo 4,505
Vauxhall Astra 4,071
Peugeot 206 2,782
Renault Clio 2,690
Ford Fiesta 2,683
Renault Megane 2,438
Vauxhall Corsa 2,331
Citroen Xsara 2,270
Volkswagen Golf 2,150

Year-to-date sales
Ford Focus 17,585
Ford Mondeo 13,416
Vauxhall Astra 13,091
Ford Fiesta 11,690
Peugeot 206 10,213
Renault Megane 7,756
Renault Clio 7,630
Vauxhall Corsa 7,415
Vauxhall Vectra 7,091
Fiat Punto 7,064

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