Car sales set new monthly high for March

The Vauxhall Corsa was top choice in Scotland. Picture: Contributed
The Vauxhall Corsa was top choice in Scotland. Picture: Contributed
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SALES of new cars both across the UK and in Scotland have hit a fresh March record thanks to a lift in consumer confidence and tempting finance deals.

Latest industry numbers show new car registrations in Scotland totalled 44,826 last month, a year-on-year rise of 2.5 per cent. UK-wide, a total of 492,774 vehicles were registered – the highest monthly figure since August 1998 after a 6 per cent year-on-year rise and also the best March ever. Sales were boosted by last month’s new “15” number plates.

Douglas Robertson, chief executive of industry body the Scottish Motor Trade ­Association, said: “We are very pleased to see another record month for Scottish new car registrations.

“Whilst fleet and business sales have increased over the last 12 months, the Scottish market remains consumer-driven and we have little doubt that the availability of personal contract purchase and other finance options continues to drive the market.”

Once again, the best-selling car north of the Border was the Vauxhall Corsa, while across Britain it was the Ford Fiesta.

Last month’s result takes the year-so-far UK total to 734,588 – a 6.8 per cent rise on the ­January-March 2014 figure. It marks the 37th month of consecutive growth for the market.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), which compiled the data, said: “The best month this century for new car registrations is a welcome boost for the UK’s thriving automotive sector.

“The challenge for a new government and industry will be to maintain this momentum and to strengthen Britain’s manufacturing capabilities through continued investment, innovation and policies which maintain our global competitiveness.

“Whatever the general election result, the new government must keep up the commitment to the sector which is delivering at home and abroad.”

Euan Murray, relationship director, Barclays corporate banking, Scotland, said: “The UK and Scottish motor trade’s winning streak continued last month in record style.

“The question on everyone’s minds is how long this ­phenomenal run can continue and whether April will be able to drive home another record month.”

The monthly record for new car sales was achieved in August 1997 when 525,000 new registrations were recorded – at a time when the new number plates were only introduced once a year, in August.

• Kia car dealership Park’s of Coatbridge said yesterday it would be exhibiting for the first time at the GreenFleet event, ­tomorrow and Saturday in ­Edinburgh. It will include Kia’s electric car, the Soul EV.

Scotland

1 - Vauxhall Corsa - 3,095

2 - Ford Fiesta - 2,471

3 - Ford Focus - 1,294

4 - Renault Clio - 1,240

5 - Vauxhall Mokka - 1,179

6 - Volkswagen Polo - 1,102

7 - Vauxhall Astra - 1,100

8 - Fiat 500 - 1,098

9 - Peugeot 208 - 866

10 - Volkswagen Golf - 850

UK

1 - Ford Fiesta - 27,034

2 - Vauxhall Corsa - 19,391

3 - Ford Focus - 15,442

4 - Nissan Qashqai - 12,210

5 - Volkswagen Golf - 11,871

6 - Volkswagen Polo - 10,038

7 - Vauxhall Astra - 9,617

8 - Audi A3 - 9,101

9 - Mercedes C-Class - 8,755

10 - Fiat 500 - 8,662

- Source: SMMT

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