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2002 UK car sales smash 2.5m barrier

New car sales smashed the 2.5 million barrier for the first time, according to figures released by the SMMT today. The 2,563,631 registrations represent a 4.3 per cent rise on 2001 and mark what SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan says was an “incredible year” – but it was a double celebration.

“Last year's new car market was marked by two important facts; sales smashed the 2.5 million for the first time and the UK cemented its position as the second largest new car market in Europe. Overall it was an incredible year and December's figures were the icing on the cake.”

During December, registrations rose by a huge 14.3 per cent to a record figure of 144,576 units. Nissan had the best December, its sale of 6,142 units representing a 68 per cent rise on December last year.

Among volume producers, Citroen, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, MG Rover and Volkswagen all had a good December – posting substantial sales increases. Less happy about December were Vauxhall (sales down 14.5 per cent), BMW (down 2.18 per cent) and Peugeot (down 1.96 per cent).

For the year as a whole, the undoubted most-improved-performance prize must go to Mini – 2002 sales at 35,545 unites were 205 per cent up on last year. Mazda sales rose 94 per cent to 14,259 units, Jaguar Daimlers' by 34.4 per cent to 29,739, and Honda's by 22.8 per cent to 77,942. Audi also lifted its sales by 21.5 per cent to 65,656 units.

Those who will be looking back on 2002 with less affection include Ford (sales down 0.87 per cent); Daewoo (-24 per cent); Alfa Romeo (- 30 per cent); Fiat (-15.3 per cent); Subaru (-16.3 per cent); Lexus(-16.6 per cent) and Saab (-10.6 per cent).

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