New car sales rose last month, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed today.
There were 189,514 new registrations in June 2012 – a 3.5 per cent increase on the same month last year.
Last month’s purchases took sales for the first half of the year to 1,057,680, a 2.7 per cent rise on January-June 2011.
Private sales did well last month, rising 9.8 per cent compared with June 2011, and are up 8.7 per cent for the first half of this year.
Total sales of new cars for the April-June period have risen 4.8 per cent and the SMMT believes year-end sales will reach 1.95 million – just ahead of last year’s 1.94 million total.
Chief executive Paul Everitt said: “Despite domestic and international economic concerns, UK motorists are responding positively to new products and the latest fuel-efficient technology.
“The industry has performed better than expected in the first half of the year and we will now need to work hard to sustain growth.”
There was a 47.8 per cent rise in sales of alternatively-fuelled vehicles last month, while diesel sales also rose and have accounted for 51.2 per cent of total sales in the first half of 2012.
Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight, described today’s figures as “encouraging”, but he warned that the motor industry still faces very challenging conditions.
He said: “Consumers are under major pressure from muted earnings growth, high unemployment and a need for many to deleverage.
“Furthermore, consumer confidence is still very low compared to long-term norms, which suggests that they may be particularly wary about splashing out on big-ticket items such as a car over the coming months.”
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