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March high heralds return of consumer confidence in dealers

The new car market in March, which saw the arrival of the 'Y' plate, climbed 1.5% to an all-time high for the month at 408,024 units registered.

Registrations in the first quarter were up 2.2% on last year to 675,083 units.

The SMMT claims this demonstrates the turnaround in the UK car market.

"The dramatic rise in private buyers reflects the confidence the consumer has in the franchised dealer network," said chief executive Christopher Macgowan.

"European car sales have fallen by an average of 4% this year, but the UK new car market has remained buoyant, growing some 2.2% in the year-to-date."

Forecast sales for the year remain at 2,250,000.

March highlights:

  • Private sector registrations rose 17.2% in March and by 19.7% in the first quarter to boost its market share to 53.8% and 50.1% respectively.
  • Six of the top 10 best sellers were superminis, with the Peugeot 206 topping the list. The Ford Focus remained the most popular car in March.
  • Registrations of imported cars rose again, this time by 6.3% to take a 74.2% market share, up from 70.9% last year.

    Top 10 registrations in March
    Ford Focus 20,359
    Peugeot 206 19,201
    Vauxhall Astra 15,594
    Vauxhall Corsa 15,191
    Ford Fiesta 13,980
    Fiat Punto 12,805
    Renault Clio 12,745
    Ford Mondeo 12,731
    Vauxhall Vectra 11,856
    Ford Ka 11,810

    Top 10 registration in the year-to-date
    Ford Focus 37,944
    Peugeot 206 29,414
    Vauxhall Astra 28,685
    Ford Mondeo 26,147
    Ford Fiesta 25,670
    Vauxhall Corsa 22,821
    Renault Clio 20,160
    Fiat Punto 19,869
    Vauxhall Vectra 18,947
    Renault Megane 17,908

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