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Record April sales, but slowdown predicted

Moves to curb consumer spending have forced the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders to revise its full year estimate of new car registrations downwards by 50,000 units to 2.4 million. The revision comes despite a record April which made the UK the second largest new car market in Europe.

Last month's total was 208,976, representing the 19th month in a row of growth in the new car market, bring the year to date total to 931,694, up nine per cent on the previous year. Registrations to private buyers soared 24.5 per cent in April, topping out at 108,126 units.

Ford's Focus remained the strongest seller, for the 24th consecutive month, and five superminis - Fiesta, Corsa, Clio, 206 and Polo - featured in the top 10.

But a spokesman for the SMMT said: “The threat of interest rate rises and a cooling of consumer spending could see demand ease later in the year. However, the UK looks set to remain a focal point for European demand.”

Top 10 best sellers, April 2002

  • Ford Focus, 14,076
  • Ford Fiesta, 9877
  • Vauxhall Corsa, 8516
  • Vauxhall Astra, 7698
  • Renault Clio, 7667
  • Peugeot 206, 7222
  • Volkswagen Golf, 7307
  • Ford Mondeo, 6146
  • Volkswagen Polo, 6133
  • Renault Megane, 5723
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