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August new car registrations rise 2.4%

A 2.4% year-on-year rise saw 89,338 new cars registered in the UK this August. Registrations were more than 11,000 units, or 14.6% up on the average August total since the introduction of the bi-annual plate change system in 1999. Year-to-date registrations are now 3,010 units or 0.2 per cent up, putting 2003 on track to meet the 2.52 million unit forecast.

Private demand rose for the third consecutive month, boosting its monthly market share from 47.5% to 48%. Registrations to private buyers have risen over 5,000 units, or 0.6%, over the first eight months of the year.

Business registrations showed the best performance for the sixth consecutive month, up almost 10,000 units over the year-to-date, now taking 9.5 per cent of the market share.

Registrations over the first eight months of 2003 rose 0.2% to 1,633,585 units, and the SMMT believes the market is now well on track to meet the 2.52 million unit forecast that will make this the second highest year on record. August typically accounts for around 3% of annual volumes, while September and the new '53' plate is expected to account for around 17% of the annual market. A strong September market will confirm expectations of 2003's year-end total.

The Ford Focus topped the best seller's list for the 40th consecutive month making it the UK's best-selling car for over three years.The Ford Mondeo was the best selling diesel in August, although the VW Golf retained its top slot over the year-to-date. Diesel registrations rose for 35th month in a row, up 17.8% in August and 15.8% for the year to date.

Honda, Land Rover, MINI, MG Rover, Toyota and Vauxhall registrations all rose in August, although net volumes of UK-built cars dipped. Cars built outside the UK accounted for 82.9% of the market. BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, smart and Suzuki were among those reporting gains.

Supermini registrations have risen by 37,777 units, or 7.3% over the year to date, taking their biggest ever market share of 34.1%.

Demand for luxury saloons, 4x4 dual- purpose and MPVs has shown even greater percentage growth – up 18.0%, 17.4% and 11.9% respectively for the year to date.

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