Strong car sales figures hike motor trade forecasts

The Vauxhall Astra proved popular with motorists, taking  the No2 slot in Scotland and third in the UK. Picture: Contributed
The Vauxhall Astra proved popular with motorists, taking the No2 slot in Scotland and third in the UK. Picture: Contributed
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THE motor trade “significantly” hiked its forecasts for the year yesterday as figures showed car sales firing on all cylinders.

Strong performance across the private, fleet and business market saw July registrations growing 12.8 per cent to 162,228 units across the UK, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

In Scotland, registrations reached 13,253, up more than 10 per cent from 12,038 in the same month last year.

The SMMT raised its forecast for 2013 new car registrations, predicting sales will reach 2.2 million units, 8.4 per cent ahead of 2012.

Interim chief executive Mike Baunton said: “Recently, we’ve seen a range of economic indicators point to improving conditions and our raised sales forecast emphasises how positively we view the rest of 2013.”

The update coincided with official factory figures for June, which showed the sharpest rise in manufacturing output for nearly a year.

Output rose 1.9 per cent compared to the previous month, reversing falls in April and May, while overall production was up 1.1 per cent month on month.

The official data follows recent upbeat industry surveys for July, which have signalled growth across manufacturing, construction and services, and confirms that the economic recovery is gaining traction.

World First chief economist Jeremy Cook said that British manufacturing should flourish further if, as expected, the Bank of England provides forward guidance of low rates today, helping exporters by keeping the pound down.