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Thursday, 5 July, 2001, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Car sales hit record
Vauxhall Astra Convertible
Vauxhall's Astra increased its share of the market
New car registrations in the UK hit a new record in June, as private buyers flocked to the showrooms.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said there was an 11.4% jump in new car registrations, to 215,325.

New car sales have been on an upward curve since the government forced manufacturers to cut prices last year.

Top 10 sellers (June)
Ford Focus
Ford Fiesta
Vauxhall Astra
Vauxhall Corsa
Renault Megane
Vauxhall Vectra
Citroen Xsara
Fiaat Punto
The SMMT said demand from private buyers soared by 22.8% in June, and accounted for 47% or 100,720 registrations - up from 42% in the same month last year.

Chief Executive Christopher Macgowan said: "This is the fourth time in less than a year that new car registrations have set a record and I'm delighted that the sales boom is continuing into the summer."

The SMMT said the market had performed better than expected in the first six months of the year, shrugging off fears that an economic slowdown would hamper demand.

September peak?

However, while the market was well on course to meet the SMMT's full-year forecast of 2.25 million units, it said demand could now enter a more unsettled phase.

"Demand could peak in September when the new registration plate format arrives with weaker registrations in surrounding months," the SMMT added.

The Ford Focus headed the best seller list for the fourteenth month running.

Strong June performances also helped boost the Vauxhall Astra and Ford Fiesta up one place in the best seller list for the year to date, which was also headed by the Focus.

The market's performance in June was helped by strong competition between franchised dealers, lower prices and a raft of new models, the SMMT said.

Demand was especially strong for Diesel cars, with registrations up 35.5% and by 22.2% in the first half of the year.

The SMMT said the rise in diesel registrations has helped reduce Carbon Dioxide emmissions from new cars by 6% since 1997, a figure also helped by people buying smaller cars.

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See also:

05 Apr 01 | Business
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