New car sales highest for a decade

JonathanApril 9, 2014

It seems as though drivers' love for new cars is here to stay as sales in the UK have risen at their fastest pace for a decade, according to the latest figures.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has said that there were more than 464,800 new car registrations during March – a rise of 17.7 per cent from the year before.

This is the fastest rate of growth for a decade and the second-highest on record since twice-yearly car registrations were introduced in 1999. In the three months to March car sales rose by 13.7 per cent to 688,122, according to the figures from the SMMT.

However, this may not be as unexpected as you first think. March is typically the busiest month for new car sales, usually accounting for almost a fifth of all car sales annually, but it is the rapid growth that is causing some buzz in the sector.

March also saw a record level of sales for alternatively-fuelled vehicles, such as the Nissan Leaf, with sales rising by 63.8 per cent compared with a year earlier. Over the period, more than 8,700 models were sold, suggesting that drivers are wanting to benefit from new technology more than ever before.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said the "surprisingly strong level of growth" in sales was a reflection of intensifying consumer confidence.

"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," he added.

"We expect the market to continue to perform positively for the rest of the year, albeit at a more modest rate."

The advantages of driving a new car are well documented, but even in the recovering economic climate, few people have the spare cash that is needed for a deposit on such a model. This is why car leasing has become incredibly popular over the past couple of years, as people are able to get behind the wheel of a brand new car – without having to make the sacrifices necessary to afford one straight from a dealer.

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