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Monday, July 6, 1998 Published at 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK


Business: The Economy

New car sales soar

The motor industry is looking forward to a record August

British motorists are driving away more new cars than at any time since the late 1980s according to the latest figures released by the car industry.

New car sales in Britain in the first six months of 1998 stood at 1.137m, up 7.8% compared to the same period last year.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders also revealed that sales in June totalled 169,789, up 11.9% on June 1997.

Car boom

The boom has been partly fuelled by imports from the Far East and a deluge of new models.

Last week, Vauxhall said it was creating a further 1,000 jobs at its Ellesmere Port plant ot cope with demand for the new Astra.

SMMT acting chief executive Roger King said: "This is a very good result and is the direct consequence of manufacturers offering highly desirable products representing good value for money."

The industry is also looking forward to a sales bonanza in August as this is the last year when the registration letter will change in that month.

From next year, the change will be in March and September so that the rush to buy new cars will be spread more evenly throughout the year.

Ford took the top three places in the best-selling models list and maintained its position as the leading company in terms of share of the market.

The top 10 car companies in terms of the number of cars sold and market share in the first six months of 1998 were:

1. Ford 209,797 - 18.45%

2. General Motors 141,958 - 12.49%

3. Rover Group 105,864 - 9.31%

4. Renault 93,716 - 8.24%

5. Peugeot 91,404 - 8.04%

6. VW 57,256 - 5.04%

7. Nissan 48,756 - 4.29%

8. Fiat 46,454 - 4.09%

9. Toyota 41,715 3.67

10. Citroen 40,906 3.60

The June 1998 top 10 sellers were:

1. Ford Escort

2. Ford Mondeo

3. Ford Fiesta

4. Vauxhall Vectra

5. Peugeot 306

6. Rover 200

7. Renault Megane

8. Renault Clio

9. Rover 400

10. Vauxhall Corsa.





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