Monthly new car registrations have risen for the first time since June last year

Monthly new car registrations have risen for the first time since June last year. 59,346 units were sold in August, representing a 7.3 per cent increase on the same month last year.

Fleet sales continued to grow steadily, and are up 3.3 per cent for the year to date, while private purchases showed an increase for the first time in 13 months at 10.7 per cent.

However, August accounted for just 2.7 per cent of sales in 2010, and SMMT boss Paul Everitt said this month will provide a better indication of the market’s progress, following the launch of the 61 plate. “The September new car market is always important for the UK motor industry, accounting for around 17 per cent of the full year’s registrations,” he said.

Everitt acknowledged customer confidence was low, but said buyers are well catered for in today’s market: “Consumers are nervous about the future, but with unprecedented improvements in fuel economy, competitive finance offers and a wide variety of new models, there is something for every taste and pocket.”

Figures for the year to date show a market decline of 6.1 per cent, accounting for a drop of nearly 80,000 cars. The SMMT says its earlier sales projection of 1.93 million cars in 2011 is still on track.

Read Autocar's report on last month's car sales

The mini and supermini segments showed most growth in August at 34.5 per cent and 17.6 per cent respectively, while the Ford Fiesta remained 2011’s best-selling car.

Richard Webber

August’s best sellers

1. Ford Fiesta, 32132. Vauxhall Corsa, 29013. Ford Focus, 28584. Volkswagen Golf, 19955. BMW 3-series, 17396. Vauxhall Astra, 16137. Volkswagen Passat, 15268. Volkswagen Polo, 14679. Nissan Qashqai, 131210. Audi A3, 1125

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