The UK's car buyers might be beginning to forgive Volkswagen

Emma Haslett
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Press Day At Volkswagen Factory
Alright, it wasn't quite a buying frenzy - but VW's figures looked more healthy (Source: Getty)

Forget this month's Tesla mania. It seems the UK's car buyers finally forgiving and forgetting: after a tough(ish) few months for the marque in the UK, in March sales inched up - but only by a tiny bit.

The figures, from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), suggested the brand sold 38,394 vehicles in March, 0.02 per cent higher than the 38,685 it sold this time last year.

At VW brand Audi, growth was rather more robust - it sold 30,483 new cars in March 4.56 per cent higher than the 29,153 it sold during the same month in 2015.

Meanwhile, buyers went berserk for the new 16 plate: with 5.3 per cent growth, March was the biggest month for new car registrations since the bi-annual plate change was introduced in 1999, SMMT said.

Some 518,707 new cars were registered in March - only the third time the figure has been higher than half a million in a single month.

Meanwhile, demand for alternative fuel vehicles - hybrids and electric cars - rose 21.5 per cent in the month, although registrations of both diesel and petrol cars also rose, by 4.8 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively.

“The new car market kept its foot on the accelerator in March, retaining the momentum generated from strong sales at the start of the year," said analysts at Barclays.

"The plate change on 1 March always makes this a crucial month for the sector, and the record-breaking result shows that the industry has again delivered when it matters.

"It’s not easy to post such impressive numbers in the current environment, with headwinds affecting other parts of the economy and we may well see more modest data in future months, but for now the industry should rightly celebrate a job well done so far in 2016.”

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