New car sales in the UK in March rose by 5.3% compared with the same month last year, with more than half a million buyers taking advantage of the plate change.
In March - considered the most important month in the year for car sales - 518,707 new cars were registered, only the third time the UK market has surpassed half a million units in a single month, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Alternative-fuel vehicles also jumped by more than a fifth over the same period last year, despite recent changes to the government’s plug-in grant that mean some car buyers opting for alternative-fuel vehicles have received smaller subsidies. With an increase of 21.5%, consumers showed there is growing demand for alternative-fuel vehicles.
Registrations of both diesel and petrol cars were also on the up, with respective increases of 4.8% and 4.7%.
The overall rise of 5.3% in March closely reflected the first quarter of the year, which grew by 5.1% over the same period in 2015, with 771,780 new cars sold.