Friday 8 June 2012

British car sales rise by 7.9% in May

The new car market in Britain grew by nearly 8% last month, marking the five month of increasing sales in 2012.
The market was assisted by strong private sales and return of the fleet sector, which had been in decline for the previous three months.

May tallied 162,288 new car registrations, representing an increase of 7.9% over the same month last year, when 150,431 vehicles were sold. The figures were also more than 6% and 9,000 units above SMMT’s forecast for the month. So far in 2012, sales have risen by 2.6% to 868,166 units.

The figures are encouraging, especially with Eurozone debt and weak consumer confidence. Swollen demand was reported in all vehicle sectors with sales of buses and commercial vehicles increasing by 120% and 31.5%, respectively.

“May’s 7.9% increase in new car registrations is good news for the motor industry and the UK economy, particularly the steady growth in demand from private buyers,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.

“The consistent climb in new car registrations during the first five months of the year suggests that confidence is returning, despite financial uncertainty in the eurozone.”

In the year to date, new car registrations are more than 20,000 units ahead of 2011, with positive sales figures in March, April and May contributing much of that increase.

More notably, the aging Vauxhall Corsa (now heading towards its six birthday) took the sales crown off the popular Ford Fiesta as Britain's best-selling car.

Sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles swelled by 31.8%, while sales of city-cars rose by 85.8%.

Mercedes reported record sales, selling 7,144 cars in May representing a 4.5% market share. Thanks to numerous finance packages, Mercedes' AMG division reported record sales in May, with 209 registrations. YTD, some 800 new AMG models have taken the road, including over 500 C63 AMGs. The C-Class compact executive was the brand's best-selling model.

Kia sales set a new record, soaring 33% to 5,176 units compared to May 2011. The Rio, Sportage, and Sorento are all in very high-demand, as is the Picanto city-car. Year to date, Kia shifted 22,184 cars and is aiming to sell 60,000 units by the end of 2012.

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