Scottish new car registrations rise by 8.6%
New car registrations jumped in Scotland last month following a surge in fleet and business purchases, according to industry figures.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said registrations rose year-on-year by more than 8.6% to just over 50,000 units.
That compared with an increase of just under 8.4% for the rest of the UK.
March is typically a strong month for car registrations, as it is when new number plates are released.
Business sales north of the border leapt by more than 50% last month, while fleet registrations were up about 13% on March last year.
However, private buyer registrations fell year-on-year by about 2.2%.
SMMT said sales were in part boosted by planned changes to Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).
New VED rates came into force on 1 April, making all new cars - apart for those with zero emissions - subject to an annual flat rate charge.
According to RAC research, most drivers buying new cars will pay significantly more following the changes.
Top sellers in Scotland in March
- Vauxhall Corsa
- Ford Fiesta
- Ford Focus
- Renault Captur
- Volkswagen Polo
Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) chief executive Sandy Burgess said: "There is no doubting the new Vehicle Excise Duties coming in on 1 April would have been a major contributor to the registrations growth, which is most welcome.
"However, we should not lose sight of the fact that the private market has actually dropped within a retail marketing period that should have been stronger, as buyers would be seeking to save the additional costs associated with their new vehicles purchased post 31 March."
March's top seller in Scotland was the Vauxhall Corsa, followed by Ford's Fiesta and Focus models.
Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Highlands and Lothian all recorded a fall in registrations, while the rest of Scotland recorded growth.
The largest growth was recorded in Strathclyde, where sales rose by 16.3% to 3,820 units.