Car sales rev up as registrations rise for the 11th month in a row

Julian Harris
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THE UK’S resurgent car-buying market shows no sign of slipping down a gear in 2013, having recorded its 11th straight month of growth in January.

New car registrations jumped 11.5 per cent last month compared to the same time a year earlier, with 143,643 vehicles registered.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which released the figures yesterday, expects modest growth throughout the rest of the year.

British consumers continue to perplex analysts by defying the economic slump and heading to the forecourts. Over 61,000 new privately-bought cars were registered in January, a considerable 15.9 per cent more than a year earlier.

“The UK’s love affair with new cars continues into 2013,” commented Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays.

“Despite the snowy forecourts, consumer demand ensured that sales rose for the eleventh month running, and with new model launches and attractive finance deals, we expect to see at least two million cars sold this year,” Lowe estimated.

Registrations by businesses saw an even steeper increase; with 7,357 registrations, the number of new company cars spiked by over 40 per cent, according to the data.

Registrations of cars bought as part of new fleets rose six per cent annualised, to 75,211.

Ford continues to produce the two most popular new cars, with the Fiesta and Focus models remaining at the top of the best sellers list. Vauxhall’s Astra and Corse occupy third and fourth positions.