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February completes two years of cars sales increases

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has released February car sales figures which show an increase of 3% on the same month last year. This completes two full years of consecutive monthly sales increases, during which time the number of cars sold has increased by 17.4%. February is traditionally a quieter month for car sales and the SMMT confirmed that 67,736 cars had been sold.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has released February car sales figures which show an increase of 3% on the same month last year. This completes two full years of consecutive monthly sales increases, during which time the number of cars sold has increased by 17.4%. February is traditionally a quieter month for car sales and the SMMT confirmed that 67,736 cars had been sold. Taken as a whole, sales for the first two months of 2014 were 223,298, a rise of 6.1% on 2013. The continued growth in sales represents growing consumer confidence and a new car market that has launched a number of attractive new models.

Commenting on the results, chief executive of SMMT, Mike Hawes, said: "While February is typically a quieter month ahead of the March registration plate change, we expect the arrival of the new 14-plate and increasing economic confidence to maintain a steady rate of growth."

The UK’s best selling cars continue to be compact and economical models. The top selling car was the Ford Fiesta, which landed 4,415 sales and in second place was the Vauxhall Corsa with 3,138 registrations. Vauxhall also claimed third place with the Astra, which sold 2,707 units, while Ford was fourth with the Focus and 2,566 sales. The Volkswagen Golf was fifth with sales of 1,628. Of the top ten best selling cars, seven are compact hatchbacks, with the only saloons being the Vauxhall Insignia, Mercedes C Class and BMW 3 Series.

UK car production is also on the rise. The number of cars being built in Britain reached a six year high in 2013, with some 1.5 million models leaving the factory gates. This represented a rise of 3.1% on 2012’s output. The SMMT is also optimistic about the immediate future, forecasting that car production in the UK will top two million by 2017. After many years in third place, in 2013 the UK replaced France as Europe’s second largest buyer of cars. Germany remains a distance ahead with 2.95m annual sales in 2013.

The increase in both sales and production of cars in the UK bodes well for the improving economy. Some 80% of the cars built in the UK are made for export, a statistic that does much to help the country’s balance of payments. The car remains, for many, the largest single purchase behind the house, so increasing cars sales are a welcome indication of growing confidence among consumers and also within the business community who run company car fleets.

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