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March new car registrations hit record above SMMT forecast

Diesels took 31% of the March 2004 new car market, up 24.6% on March 2003, in the 42nd successive month of growth.

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan commented, “Although it is still early days, we could be looking forward to a fourth consecutive record year for the new car market. The growth in a record first quarter has surprised everyone, with March exceeding industry expectations of 450,000 units. If the market continues to be strong, and the underlying economic outlook remains positive, we may well need to revise our 2.5 million unit forecast in the months to come.”

It looks as if March this year may better September new car volumes, in contrast to previous years since the UK's twice-annual plate change that started five years ago.

Focus held on to its best seller status in the top ten models, ahead of Corsa, 206, Fiesta, Clio, Astra, BMW 3 Series, Megane, 307 and Mondeo.

Superminis were up 7.6%, ahead of the market, taking a 34.6% share. Luxury saloons and MPVs saw the best unit gains in March, with registrations rising by 54.9% and 31.5% respectively.

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