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Record registrations in June

Retail buyers have added nearly 100,000 additional sales to the six-month registration figures as demand shows little sign of slowing.

The market in June reached a record 215,325 units, obliterating the previous record of 200,172 in 1979. Registrations for the first six months have now reached 1,269,028, an increase of 4.3% over last year.

The encouraging news for dealers is that retail sales continue to make the biggest impression, up 22.8% on June 2000. Total private sales for the first six months are 617,861, a market share of 48.7%.

The SMMT continues to predict sales of 2.25m for the year. Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive, said: “This is the fourth time in less than a year that new car registrations have set a monthly record. It shows the industry is working hard to be more competitive than ever.”

The last two months of 2000 and March 2001 all saw record sales and the June total was 11.4% up on last year.

Fleet sales last month were up 4.8% at 93,667 but sales to business customers were down 4.7% at 20,938.

The SMMT says the market has performed better than expected over the first half of the year. The new registration plate format could boost sales above 400,000 units in September but it warns of an unsettled phase towards the end of the year.

Demand for diesel cars has been particularly strong, up 35.5% in June and by 22.2% for the first half of the year. Importers were the big winners of the month with registrations of imported cars rising 17.1% to give them a market share of 76.5%.

{*June 2001*}

Prestige brands like Lexus have done particularly well with sales up 31.66% this year to 5,997. The IS200 is the best-selling Lexus with year-to-date sales topping 4,000.

Audi is also doing well with sales up 22.34% to 27,695 from 22,638 in the first half of last year.

Alfa Romeo continues to be the fastest growing brand with sales up 89.09% to 8,600 against 4,548 last year. Ford has increased its lead over Vauxhall with a market share of 17% against Vauxhall's 12.69% while Peugeot holds a strong third place with 8.51%, ahead of Renault (7.08%) and Volkswagen (7.06%).

As new 307 starts to make an impact, Peugeot should narrow the gap to Vauxhall, while Renault will be looking to the facelifted Clio to increase its lead over Volkswagen.

Ford has been helped by the Focus holding on to top spot for the 14th consecutive month with Fiesta moving up to second place ahead of Astra – its highest ranking since June last year.

  • The increase in diesel sales has helped CO2 emissions of new cars to fall by 6% since 1997. This means that CO2 levels are on target for a 25% reduction between 1995 and 2008, according to the SMMT's CO2 database.

    {*Year to date (June)*}

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