Car registrations leap to best first-half performance since 2005 - as Fiesta leads sales

Peter Spence
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The Ford Fiesta was June's most popular car (Source: Getty)

UK car sales have motored on to their best half-year total since 2005. Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals that 1,287,265 new cars were registered in the first six months of 2014.

That's a 10.6 per cent rise on the same six months last year. Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, says that "improving economic conditions" have helped to propel the UK new car market.

Hawes says that ever-improving efficiency of new cars has attracted consumers, with a 51.3 per cent rise in alternatively-fuelled vehicle registrations seen so far this year.

The best-selling vehicle, both in June and the year to date, was the humble Ford Fiesta, with 11,213 units registered in June alone. The Vauxhall Corsa came in second in June, with 7,961 of the vehicles registered.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European Economist at IHS Global Insight, says that June was "another very impressive month of car sales", marking a record 28th month of year-on-year gains in car sales.

The SMMT suggests that after a bumper March, "growth is showing signs of stabilising" around its forecast level.

It estimates that 2.4m new cars will be sold this year, up six per cent on 2013. There's only one possible dark cloud on the horizon: Archer suggests that one concern for car manufacturers is the current muted earnings growth in the UK, which threatens to be a constraint for vehicle sales.