Private sales behind boom in car market

Ben Southwood
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PRIVATE buyers boosted the car market yet again in February, helping it rise for the 14th consecutive month.

Total car registrations were 66,749 last month, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), up 7.9 per cent over the year, and driven by a 28.9 per cent explosion in private sales.

By contrast, fleet sales crashed 4.4 per cent, declining from 60.5 per cent of the market a year ago to just 53.6 per cent in February.

February also saw a reverse in the relative fortunes of petrol and diesel, as petrol sales soared 20.5 per cent to take up 50.3 per cent of the market – versus just 45.1 per cent in the same month a year ago.

Meanwhile diesel sales fell three per cent to make up just 48.4 per cent of the total this February, though taking both January and February together, sales of diesel cars totalled 105,164, compared to the 102,107 petrol vehicles consumers bought.

“The UK new car market continues to defy gravity with growth levels in stark contrast to the contraction in the major European markets,” said Deloitte’s David Raistrick. “The growth achieved in the UK during 2013 has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations.”

Ford sold 11,561 Fiestas during January and February, topping the table as they did in 2012, with the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Corsa, Vauxhall Astra, Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Golf making up the top six as they did last year.