British new car sales hit top gear
London, January 8, 2014
British new car sales rose to their highest level since 2007 last year, bucking a weak European trend to grow by 10.8 per cent on the year, industry data for the continent's second-largest car market shows.
Cheap finance was a major factor in helping to shift 2.265 million cars in 2013, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said yesterday, up from 2.045 million in 2012 and slightly beating its forecast for sales of 2.25 million.
It also said billions of pounds in compensation paid to consumers by banks for past insurance mis-selling had helped some car-buyers fund deposits.
Sales in December alone were 24 per cent up on the same month in 2012, though the industry expects this rate of growth to slow sharply this year as sales plateau at levels close to those reached before the financial crisis.
The British Chambers of Commerce said earlier yesterday that its latest figures pointed to 0.9 per cent growth in the last three months of 2013 - potentially delivering the highest annual growth rate since 2007.
Ford was Britain's top-selling manufacturer in 2013, helped by its Fiesta supermini and mid-sized Focus models, followed by General Motors' rival Vauxhall Corsa and Astra. Volkswagen, Nissan and BMW also recorded strong sales.-Reuters