AM Online

Scots spend £390m on '56' plate

The launch of the new "56" car registration plate saw Scots drivers splash out around £390million on new vehicles.

Car sales rose for the first time since May as dealers slashed prices to boost trade.

Motor trade officials say the surprise increase is a welcome boost for car dealers.

And they believe it could signal consumer confidence returning to the market. A total of 38,821 new cars were driven off garage forecourts during September - a rate of 1,294 a day - according to new figures published today by the Scottish Motor Trade Association.

That marks a 4.4% surge on the same month a year ago. Scotland also outperformed the rest of the UK where car sales fell 1.2% during the month.

Strathclyde performed best with a 9% increase in sales during last month. A total of 20,072 cars were sold in the area, worth around £200m.

The top-selling vehicle in Scotland was the Renault Clio with 2076 sales.

However, sales have fallen for seven out of the nine months of 2006 so far.

And car dealers are still facing a massive shortfall of around £47m in sales since the start of this year.

Total sales of new cars in Scotland for January to September are down 2.8% on the same period last year - which has prompted big discounts.

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