While much of Europe is still struggling to come back from the six-year slump in demand, Great Britain moves full steam ahead, according to the country’s car industry body.
Due to a strong performance during the first six months of the year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has moved to predict the full-year tally will reach 2.45 million new vehicles, an 8.1% rise over the figure accounted last year. Economic stability and confidence, together with record-low interest rates buoyed first-half sales to a 10% rise to 1.46 million units, which led the SMMT to change its forecast from a more modest climb of 6.6%.
In July, new car deliveries were up 6.6% from the same period in 2013 (the 29th month of consecutive rise, with 172,907 autos), a better result than June’s 6.2%. Britain’s new car sales are buoyed by the credit scheme used by the buyers – as four out of five sales are done with financial aid. The scheme is known as a personal contract plan – customers actually “rent” the car for some years (usually three), then move to trade it for another new model. The top three models sold in the UK were Ford’s Fiesta, followed by the compact Focus and the Vauxhall Corsa, according to SMMT figures.