Car sales rise in first month of new year
T HE car market has got off to a good start with January's registrations up 12 per cent against a year ago with a particular rise in private sales as drivers continue to be tempted by the amazing deals in the showrooms and the lower running costs of the latest models.
The trade is delighted that the strong demand it saw last year seems to be continuing into 2013 and industry leaders have already revised upwards their forecasts for the whole year.
January recorded the 11th month in a row that the market has increased and the third month of double digit growth in the past four.
Mike Baunton, interim chief executive, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, says: "The new car market has started the year confidently with registrations climbing 11.5 per cent in January. Lifted by a solid rise in private demand, the new car market posted its 11th successive month of growth with motorists attracted to forecourts by the latest models and competitive deals on offer.
"Building on a strong performance in 2012, SMMT has increased its market forecast – we now anticipate a modest rise over the year, followed by further growth in 2014."
The SMMT expects the market to rise by 0.6 per cent this year to 2.057 million units and by 2.6 per cent next year to 2.11 million units.
Growth was again concentrated in the private market, although all sales types increased registrations in January.
Cost-conscious and environmentally-minded motorists were attracted to the advances in fuel efficiency across all ranges and new alternative propulsion systems that became available during the last 12 months. These include diesel-electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids and extended-range electric vehicles.
Registrations of all fuel types rose in January. Petrol cars saw their market share rise, in line with increased volumes by private buyers and of smaller cars, both of which tend towards petrol cars.
January's best sellers were the Ford Fiesta (7,906) and Focus (5,794), Vauxhall Corsa (5,178), Nissan Qashqai (4,280), VW Golf (3,335), Peugeot 208 (2,959), VW Polo (2,885), Nissan Juke (2,522) and Mercedes C-Class (2,356).
There were strong results from Jaguar, up 30 per cent, Nissan up by more than 50 per cent and selling almost 9,500 more cars this January than a year ago, Chrysler was up 46 per cent, Vauxhall started what should be an exceptional year for it with the new ADAM supermini due soon with a 50 per cent registration rise and Suzuki sold an extra 500 cars to post a 43 per cent increase.
However there was less happy news for Subaru, down 53 per cent, Lexus which is down by 28 per cent, Jeep fell by almost a quarter, MG managed to register only 31 cars and Lotus became almost invisible, putting just four new cars on the road.