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UK Car Sales Reach 10 Year Record

In March, registrations of new cars in Britain reached their highest levels for ten years, according to figures released by industry body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

In March, registrations of new cars in Britain reached their highest levels for ten years, according to figures released by industry body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Total sales for the month hit 464,824, representing a rise of nearly 18% on the same month in 2013. The figure also represented the second best performance in sales since the twice-yearly system of car registrations was introduced in 1999. Looking at the first quarter of 2014 as a whole, sales for the first three months to March are up almost 14% to a total of 688,122.
 
March is usually the best month of the year for new car sales, accounting for around a fifth of new registrations for the entire year. There was also good news for alternatively-fuelled cars, which saw a sharp rise in registrations of 64%, over last year’s March figure, to a total of 8,713. 
 
SMMT’s chief executive, Mike Hawes, welcomed the news and said that it was a surprisingly strong performance, which reflected an intensification of consumer confidence. He added: "Given the past six years of subdued economic performance across the UK, there is still a substantial margin of pent-up demand that is contributing to a strong new and used car market. We expect the market to continue to perform positively for the rest of the year, albeit at a more modest rate."
 
Hawes’ sentiments were echoed by the chief UK and European economist at motoring consultancy IHS Global Insight, Howard Archer, who said that the sales performance in March was extremely good news for the UK’s car industry. He also added that the car industry’s success was providing a welcome boost to the overall prospects for economic growth in the country during 2014.
 
Industry analysts have pointed to a combination of factors to explain the continued growth in sales in the UK car industry, a trend that is now entering its third year. The industry has undoubtedly been seeing the results of pent-up demand, as both private individuals and company fleets update their cars after putting off purchases for a longer than usual period of time. The key factor, however, is almost certainly the availability of high quality and lower cost finance packages for new cars. These have made the purchase of a new car a lot more affordable for normal motorists and such deals have been instrumental in luring people back onto the showrooms.

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