UK auto sales in March surpassed analysts’ expectations, with an increase of almost 6% compared with the same period last year.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders new car registrations in the UK last month increased 6% compared with a rise of 2% registered in March 2012. Exactly 394, 806 vehicles were registered with the new 13-plate, which translates in a 5.9% year-on-year increase, adding a strong demand for private registrations, which increased 7.8%. Private registrations made up for 51.7% of the market, followed by fleet with 43.5% and business with 4.8%.

This increase marks the 13th month of growth in a row and the highest level since the Scrappage Incentive Scheme in 2010. But registrations are still with 12.1% under the pre-financial crisis market total reached in 2007. Year-to-date total registrations were up 7.4% to 605,198 units.

“Consistent monthly growth in the market is an encouraging sign of returning consumer confidence,” said SMMT interim chief executive Mike Baunton. “Customers have been attracted to forecourts by new models and the latest technologies.”

Petrol-fuelled car registrations increased 12.1% during the first three month of the year, surpassing diesels, thanks to an increase in the small car segment and the private sector markets. Alternatively-fuelled car registrations dropped in March, but increased 2.9% during the first quarter.


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