The UK's new car market grew by over eight per cent last month, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
A total of 176,820 vehicles were registered in April, down significantly from 464,824 cars registered in March. The SMMT has again increased its forecast for this year, from 2.3 million new car registrations to over 2.4m. The group says sales have continued to rise for the 26th consecutive month thanks to improving wages and falling inflation.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "After the bumper plate-change month of March, the UK car market returned to more modest but still positive growth in April."
Diesel registrations continue to rise sharply and now represent 51.4 per cent of the total market, up from 50.3 per cent last year. Petrol models accounted for 46.9 per cent of sales, while alternatively fuelled cars occupy just 1.7 per cent of the market, with 2949 cars registered last month.
Big winners continue to be Ford's Fiesta and Focus models, followed by the Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Corsa. Sales of Nissan's Qashqai rose sharply last month, thanks to interest in the new model. In the year to date, the Fiesta occupies the top spot with some 49,490 units registered, followed by the Focus and Corsa.
Outside the UK, new car registrations in the EU have risen for the seventh consecutive month to March this year, with a total of 3.25m cars registered in the first quarter of 2014. The UK is now the second-largest market for new cars in the EU, and contributed to almost a third of first-quarter registrations this year.
UK's best-selling cars in April 2014