Motor market buoyant as sales of new cars take off
Sales of new cars sped ahead last month. There were 142,322 new registrations in April – a 3.3 per cent rise on the same month last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The increase was largely driven by a big rise in private sales which were almost 15 per cent up on last April's figure.
Last month's total new car sales took the year-to-date figure to 705,878 – a 1.4 per cent rise on the January-April 2011 total.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: "A strong April new car market has raised confidence across the UK motor industry. We are seeing a steady increase in consumer confidence with growth in private demand, boosted by the arrival of a raft of new products.
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"We have increased our 2012 full-year forecast to 1.95 million units, putting the market marginally ahead of 2011, indicating a period of relative stability."
The market share for petrol cars grew in April 2012, although over the first four months of the year diesel and alternatively-fuelled car registrations have shown volume and market share growth.
Small car demand (mini and supermini) rose strongly in April, as too did volumes of dual-purpose segment cars. The executive and sports car markets also rose.
Meanwhile the good news is set to continue over the next few months, according to a poll by Sainsbury's Bank. The bank found that as many as 18 per cent of adults intend to make a vehicle purchase in the period to August. This represents 8.33 million people and is well above the 5.56 million who said they planned a purchase between September 2011 and this February.
The amount expected to be spent on changing vehicles is also much higher – up from £40.2 billion in the period September 2011 to February 2012 to just under £90 billion in the period March-August 2012.
More than a quarter of 18- to 34-year-olds intend to buy a car over the next few months.
Of the 8.33 million potential buyers, around 1.6 million are looking for a car that better suits their family's needs, while more than three million people are looking to change their car to reduce the costs – either cutting down their engine size or switching from a petrol car to a diesel one to reduce fuel and road tax costs.
Steven Baillie, head of loans at Sainsbury's Bank, said: "Our car-buying index provides a good indicator of consumer confidence. This has been helped potentially by the number of offers and deals available."