New car registrations rose again in March 2014 to make it 25 consecutive months of growth – and make it the biggest month for car registrations in a decade.
464,824 cars were registered in the 14-reg plate change month: since registrations began to change twice a year back in 1999 (meaning the traditional September spike was spread more evenly), this has only been beaten once: March 2004 saw 466,954 new cars registered.
The extent of the increase appears to have taken even the SMMT by surprise.
“New car registrations surged 17.7% in March to 464,824 units, a surprisingly strong level of growth and a reflection of intensifying consumer confidence and the availability of great new products,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.
It’s partly due to pent-up demand, he says, after six years of depressed new car sales, but also thanks to some great new car deals.
“There has never been a better time to buy a new car thanks to attractive finance deals and advanced technologies that often make new cars cheaper to run. We expect the market to continue to perform positively for the rest of the year, albeit at a more modest rate.”
March generally accounts for 20% of annual new car sales and is the biggest single month of the year. The bounty of new car registrations last month has pushed the year to date rise up to 13.7% – that’s 688,122 new cars registered.
Alternatively fuelled vehicles beat even these heady percentage increases, too: 8,713 cars registered equated to annual growth of 63.8%.
UK best-selling cars – March 2014
1: Ford Fiesta
2: Ford Focus
3: Vauxhall Corsa
4: Volkswagen Golf
5: Vauxhall Astra
6: Nissan Qashqai
7: Volkswagen Polo
8: Fiat 500
9: BMW 3 Series
10: Toyota Yaris