Ford’s Focus maintained its best seller slot in April and also outsold the VW Golf to become the top selling diesel model, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Vauxhall outpaced Ford to be the best selling brand in April with four models in the top 10.
Mini and executive segments posted the strongest growth rates in April – up 43.7% and 37.8% respectively, while the lower medium segment had the largest volume gain. MPVs continue to show the best growth over the year-to-date.
Diesels continue to see their market share and volumes rise as buyers consider the financial benefits. Registrations accounted for a record 45.4% of the market in April, following a 20% gain in volumes. Diesel demand is expected to rise further in 2008 and 2009.
Demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFV) also rose, up 8.4% in April and by 14.4% in the year-to-date.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: "With fuel prices sky-high, consumers are looking for efficient motoring they can afford.
“The latest registration figures show diesel-powered vehicles have hit their highest monthly market share on record, alongside a stronger focus on super-efficient small cars.
“The motor industry has invested in a wide variety of new technologies and exciting designs to ensure motorists have a wide choice and can continue to maintain their mobility, save money and reduce their carbon foot-print."
As expected the Bank of England has also held interest rates at 5% in May. The Retail Motor Industry Federation said: "Although we are disappointed that there has not been a further cut in rates to stimulate the economy we believe that the current rate of interest rates should help keep consumer credit affordable.
"We would like to see a further rate cut in June in order to keep the economy in a strong position during what could be a difficult time for consumers with rising household costs and motoring expenses." The RMIF also said it was pleased to see the April market proving strong. It said: "There are signs that consumer confidence in the high street is weakening but we hope that the car market remains strong with the help of manufacturer incentive and competitive credit deals."
UK new car registrations
Registrations by sales type
Top 10 best sellers