UK: New car sales up 7.9 pct in May image

New car sales in UK grew by nearly eight per cent in May, according to sales figures issued by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

This was the largest percentage increase in registrations for 23 months, which was attributed to a 14.3% increase in private sales.

The rise in May brings the 2012 total up to 868,166, which represents a 2.6% increase on the same period in 2011.

SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: “May’s increase is good news for the motor industry and the UK economy, particularly the steady growth in demand from private buyers.

“There is no doubt that vehicle manufacturers and their dealer networks are working hard to deliver value for money to motorists, and the consistent climb in new car registrations during the first five months of the year suggests that confidence is returning, despite financial uncertainty in the Eurozone.”

The best-selling car in May was the Vauxhall Corsa, but the Ford Fiesta remains the UK’s most popular new car in 2012, with 50,507 sold so far.

The UK automotive industry has an annual turnover of about £49bn, accounting for more than 10% of total exports, and employs 700,000 people.

The table below shows the registration figures for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in detail. Top performers by model are also listed.

end 2012
end 2011
date 2012
date 2011
England 120,846 117,021 3.27 596,494 589,664 1.16
Northern Ireland 3,377 3,569 -5.38 19,325 19,760 -2.20
Scotland 12,141 11,585 4.80 61,698 58,442 5.57
Wales 4,908 4,571 7.37 24,733 24,239 2.04
Grand total 141,272 136,746 3.31 702,250 692,105 1.47

Note: Channel Islands and Isle of Man new car registrations not included.