The UK’s new car market grew by nearly eight per cent in May, according to sales figures issued by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The market was buoyed by strong private sales and a return to growth by the fleet sector, which had been in decline for the previous three months.
A total of 162,288 new cars were registered in May, representing a 7.9 per cent increase over the same month last year, when 150,431 vehicles were sold.
This was the strongest rate of growth since the scrappage-induced rise in June 2010 and was the third, and largest, monthly increase in a row.
“May’s 7.9% increase in new car registrations is good news for the motor industry and the UK economy, particularly the steady growth in demand from private buyers,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.
“The consistent climb in new car registrations during the first five months of the year suggests that confidence is returning, despite financial uncertainty in the eurozone.”
In the year to date, new car registrations are more than 20,000 units ahead of 2011, with positive sales figures in March, April and May contributing much of that increase.
The May market was more than six per cent and 9000 units above SMMT’s forecast for the month.
Also notable was that fact that the Vauxhall Corsa deposed the hitherto dominant Ford Fiesta as the best-selling model for the month, and the growth of the alternatively fuelled sector, which swelled by 31.8 per cent as new models came on stream.
UK’s best-selling new cars, May 2012