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The BBC's Greg Wood
"Fierce competition"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 6 June, 2000, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK
Price cuts boost car sales
Ford Focus
Best seller in May: Ford Focus
Cut-price offers gave new car sales a boost in May.

A total of 194,113 new cars were registered last month - a 10.4% rise on the May 1999 figure, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The May total took new car sales so far this year to 1,023,085 - a 2.8% rise on the January-May 1999 total.

Top 10 May sellers
1. Ford Focus
2. Vauxhall Astra
3. Vauxhall Corsa
4. Ford Fiesta
5. Vauxhall Vectra
6. Peugeot 206
7. Renault Clio
8. Ford Mondeo
9. Fiat Punto
10. Renault Megane

"Car buyers are taking advantage of the spectacular deals on offer at dealerships throughout the UK," said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan.

"With a strong economy and a host innovative and exciting products, consumer confidence is healthy and as new car prices continue to fall, it is an exceptionally good time to purchase a car," he added.

The SMMT said sales were on course to reach a total of 2.2 million for the year, although the current level of demand was likely to ease slightly later in the year.

Rover popularity dips

Rover was toppled from its pole position, although it still sold more cars than in May 1999 - 10,668 vehicles compared with 10,366. .

It took a 13.48% share of the market in April, but had to settle for a 5.5% share last month.

The April sales boost followed price cuts by the group's former owner BMW.

Those cuts ended when the new owner, Phoenix, took over the company. Yesterday a new 10% price reduction was announced.

The company has so far sold 73,249 vehicles this year compared with 63,471 in the first five months of 1999.

In April, the Rover 25 topped the best-sellers' list but had to settle for 11th place in May.

The Ford Focus was the top seller and Ford was once again the best-selling company followed by Vauxhall, which had been pushed down into third place by Rover in April.

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See also:

10 Apr 00 | Business
UK car price cuts ordered
05 May 00 | Business
Rover celebrates sales boost
10 Apr 00 | Business
Car firms under pressure
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