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2003 UK new registrations reach a third consecutive record at 2,579,050

After December sales up 7% year on year a total of 2,579,050 new cars were sold in the UK last year - slightly more than the 2002 record of 2,563,631, according to the SMMT. In 2001 registrations reached 2,458,769 units.

Private buyers accounted for 1,254,927 units in 2003, representing a share of 48.7%, the highest since 1990, while diesel sales continued to rise, by 16.9% to a record 704,637 units. In 2002 diesel registrations reached 602,623 units (23.5 per cent of the total annual market) and in 2001, 436,591 (17.8 per cent of the total annual market).

”The 2003 UK car market outshone Europe with a third record year of registrations. While figures fell across the continent, the UK market continued to climb cementing our position as Europe's second biggest market,' commented SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan.

”Increased consumer confidence has seen private buyers lead a strong, stable market, reflecting the general economic trend of the country. An ever-growing range of models boasting newly developed technologies, has led to consistent growth over the last decade with volumes looking set to remain stable into 2004.”

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