LONDON May 7 New car sales in Britain were
nearly 15 percent higher in April than a year ago, according to
the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders which said sales
in 2013 would be stronger than it previously forecast.
New car registrations increased for the 14th month running
to 163,357 units, up 14.8 percent on the year and the best April
"The UK continues to perform well ahead of the troubled euro
zone as consumer confidence, regular purchase cycles, attractive
finance deals and wider market factors continue to make new car
buying favourable for motorists," SMMT Interim Chief Executive
Mike Baunton said on Tuesday.
Rising car sales have provided a rare source of good news in
Britain over the past year, while the wider economy dipped in
and out of recession. New registrations have grown strongly
since the start of the year, in contrast to falls in Germany -
Europe's biggest car market - and France.
Even though April's rise was flattered by more sales days
this year than last, this was still a robust performance, said
Howard Archer, economist at IHS Global Insight.
The industry body revised up its full-year sales forecast to
2.106 million units, a 3 percent increase on 2012 volumes. In
January it predicted full-year sales of 2.057 million.
Car sales in Britain have also been boosted by high fuel
prices, which have encouraged motorists to buy more
fuel-efficient cars to save money on running costs.
That cost-conscious approach was evident in April's
best-selling models, with Ford's Fiesta, Vauxhall's Corsa
and Ford's Focus leading the pack.
The SMMT said petrol-fuelled cars have seen their market
share climb in the first four months of 2013, supported by
increased demand for small cars.
However, this year's pick-up in unemployment and rising
inflation threaten to slow car sales in Britain.
"The auto sector faces far from easy conditions over the
coming months, with consumers confronted by significant
headwinds and businesses under pressure to contain costs,"