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January registrations rise 5.8%

New car registrations were 5.8% and almost 11,000 units up year on year in January at 197,591 units. Fleet registrations were up 9.0% and other business registrations up by 7.2% while private new car purchases climbed for the eight successive month, by 2.5%.

Supermini volumes grew 4.2% growth month-on-month after last year's growth, and four supermini models featured among January's top 10 best-sellers.

The Ford Mondeo diesel at 3,360 units, narrowly outsold the diesel Focus with 3,264 while the complete Focus range remained the UK's best selling model.

Diesels took 31.2% of the Janaury market with a 20.9% year-on-year rise to 61,706 units.

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan said, “January's new car market continues a trend set over three consecutive record years. Fears over interest rate rises are not affecting registrations which remain strong on the back of a positive economic backdrop and raft of attractive new models. We can expect 2004 to be another year in which the UK consolidates its position as the second largest European market.”

For Alan Pulham, franchised dealer director for the Retail Motor Industry Federation suggested that consumers' continuing willingness to buy new cars was related to “the generally poor nature of the UK's public transport infrastructure”. “Consumers have been forced to make the sensible choice, and buy a car,” he said.

- New car registrations in Scotland in January 2004 totalled 15,292 units, reports the SMTA, a year on year increase of 13.69%.

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