New car sales in the UK rose for the seventh straight month in January.
A total of 145,479 units were sold last month, a 29.8 per cent rise on the previous year. The sales increase comes despite the bad weather in the UK and VAT’s increase to 17.5 per cent.
The figures have been released on the same day the government has confirmed scrappage will be extended to the end of March.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: “The 29.8 per cent increase in January new car registrations provides a better than expected start to 2010 for the UK motor industry.
“Scrappage continues to lift demand successfully and today’s announcement of a continuation of the scheme to the end of March will allow the maximum number of people to benefit from the budget that’s still available.”
Despite continued market growth, the SMMT still expects new car sales to drop nine per cent to 1.82m units this year due to scrappage’s withdrawal.
“Industry expects another difficult year with the availability of finance, consumer confidence and sustaining demand post-scrappage, key to performance in the second half of the year, but signs of recovery in the fleet and business sectors are encouraging,” said Everitt.