Business

UK new car sales hit 10-year high in September

Cars are displayed for sale on the forecourt of a Vauxhall dealership on January 8, 2014 in London Image copyright Getty Images

New UK car sales had their strongest September in ten years, boosted by confidence in the economic recovery, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has said.

Sales reached 425,861, up 5.6% on the same time last year, and represented the 31st consecutive monthly increase.

Almost two million new cars have been sold so far this year - 9.1% up on the same period last year.

September is usually a busy month because of the new registration plate.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "September's strong performance underlined the continuing robustness of the UK new car market, particularly in the context of last September's bumper volumes.

"Demand for the new 64-plate has been boosted by intensifying confidence in the UK economy, with consumers attracted by a wide range of exciting, increasingly fuel-efficient, new cars."

However, he warned that the market was coming off the boil.

"In the months since March - which saw an 18% jump in registrations - the growth has shown signs of levelling off as the market starts to find its natural running rate," Mr Hawes said.

'Confidence'

The SMMT data showed that Ford's Fiesta held on as the UK's top selling car, followed by its mid-sized Focus model and the Vauxhall Corsa.

David Raistrick, UK automotive expert at Deloitte, said the figures underlined improving UK business confidence.

"If the new car sales are representative of the performance of the UK economy, there are further signs that confidence within the business sector is improving. Fleet and business car sales are now seeing the sort of growth that has been provided by private sales over the past two and half years.

"The UK market has consolidated its position as the second largest market for new cars after Germany and is almost a third larger than France in third place."

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