New car sales stronger than expected in March
4 April 2008

British car buyers have confounded the gloom in the rest of the economy by staying stronger than expected in March.Expectations of a downturn had seen industry forecasters underestimate the appeal of the new registration. UK buyers defied expectations to buy 451,642 new cars last month – a 0.5% increase on March 2007. It was a particularly happy Easter for Ford, as results showed the Focus regained its position as the best selling model in the UK. The Fiesta was also highly placed as supermini registrations rose 4.3% – reflecting an increasing demand for small, low cost cars. Nissan and Smart were amongst the other brands that did well.The figures also revealed British consumers continuing to make the switch to diesel and alternative fuels. Diesel cars took a 41.9% market – up from 38.4% a year ago. The Toyota Prius became a top seller in its field, and helped ensure that alternative fuelled vehicles sales were up 14.7% for March.This month will see the SMMT review its forecast of 2.34million new car sales for 2008. Despite the market’s current resilience, the industry will almost certainly remain cautious of an anticipated drop in consumer spending.

Nick Cackett

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK