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February market predicted to grow 5% YOY

There will be no change in the positive trend in new car registrations this month, although ahead of the March plate change, there will be some tempering of the final numbers.

Andrew Jackson, head of analytic at Glass’s, said: "As the year has started brightly we anticipate that February’s figures should follow the trend of growth.

"However, as February also represents the last month of the “63-plate” it should also be expected that the volume of vehicles registered will be constrained in the region of 65,000 to 70,000 cars which would represent 5% growth versus February 2013."

He added the initial signs are that December represented a spike in registrations for the fleet sector, whilst the private and business sectors continued their strong form.

January’s figures indicated that fleet settled back to a rate of growth in-line with late Q3 2013, business registrations settled at a growth rate similar to late Q4 2013 and private registrations maintained their acceleration in growth.

"It is far too early to draw any conclusions from the continued growth in private registrations; not till the end of Q1 will we be able to see how the pattern of registrations is developing," he said.

In terms of actual volume month-on-month, January represented a 7.6% growth versus 2013.

In volume terms, fleet registrations were flat (a technical decline of seven units was actually recorded) at 75,210 versus January 2013, whilst business registrations grew 7.7% versus the previous year to record 7,935 registrations.

The largest percentage growth could be attributed to the private sector with a 17% jump to record 71,417 registrations in January, up by more than 10,000 units versus 2013.

Across the fuel-types, diesel-fuelled registrations represented the largest quotient of registrations by volume with 51.4%, whilst petrol registered 46.7%. Alternative Fuelled Vehicles (AFVs), maintained their peripheral market presence with 1.8% of registrations.

Looking at the most popular models for January, Ford appears to have started strongly with Fiesta and Focus once again claiming first and second places. However whilst the volume of Fiesta’s registered represent a 15% year-on-year (YoY) growth, Ford’s Focus volumes were down -8% versus January 2013, according to Glass's.

Vauxhall fared even worse with the third-place Corsa registering 4,470 registrations   (-14%) and Astra with 3,399 registrations (-38%).

The biggest winner for January was Volkswagen with the Golf and Polo. These models registered 4,390 (up 32% YoY) and 3,875 (up 34% YoY) respectively.

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