12-plate lures new car buyers to boost market
Industry chiefs have welcomed March new car registration figures which they say were better than expected.
Volumes rose 1.8 per cent, buyers attracted by the prospect of being the first to drive with a 12 registration plate.
March is typically the largest month for registrations, averaging 18 per cent of the full year’s volume.
This year saw 372,835 new cars registered during the month, some 20,000 or six per cent more than the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) had predicted.
The growth appears to have been led by private buyers, the rise of 7.4 per cent one of the best monthly increases in the past two years.
And the better than expected March helped boost quarter one volumes by 0.9 per cent, to 563,556 units.
SMMT Chief Executive Paul Everitt has welcomed a third consecutive month of retail growth. “Domestic demand for new cars is showing signs of recovery with private buyers increasingly returning to take advantage of a wide range of excellent products and, this month, the new 12-plate,” he says.
However the growth is from a 2011 market that was weak and registrations in March were still 17 per cent less than in 2007, before the recession.
Some 14.6 per cent of cars registered on the UK market in March were also built in the UK, a rise from 13.3 per cent one year ago.
Meanwhile the Ford Fiesta remains the best-selling car on the UK market, having topped the table over the first three months of 2012. Some 22,267 examples were registered in March, 5,396 ahead of Vauxhall’s Corsa.
Words by: Andrew Charman