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New car sales in Britain hit six year high as Europe lags - and Ford Fiesta remains nation's favourite motor

Britain had another year of strong new car sales with 2,264,737 motors registered in 2013 according to official figures - a 10.8 per cent jump on 2012.

It means the number of new motors shifted last year was the best annual total since 2007, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed this morning.

The 2013 total was boosted by a 23.76 per cent rise - or nearly 153,000 - in sales in December on the same month a year before. This was the 22nd successive month of increases.

Car boom: New motor sales in Britain grew at some pace last year while European sales remained muted

On average, an additional 600 extra cars were registered per day in 2013 than in 2012. Private sales made up 1.07million of the registrations last year - a rise of 15.6 per cent on the 2012 share.

Diesel motors proved more popular than their petrol counterparts for the third year running, but the gap narrowed.

Both petrol and diesel-engined vehicle sales rose in 2013, but petrol's share of the market grew slightly - from 47.8 per cent in 2012 to 48.8 per cent in 2013 - while diesel's share dipped from 50.8 per cent in 2012 to 49.8 per cent in 2013.

Appetite for hybrid and plug-in cars remained flat last year, once again taking a 1.4 per cent share of the market.

Diesel vs petrol: Once again, motorists prefered to snap up diesel cars rather than petrol

The supermini sector was the largest last year, accounting for nearly 36 per cent of all sales with best-selling models in 2013 coming in the form of the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘The 10.8 per cent increase in 2013 reflects the attractive financial offers available, as well as increased demand for more technologically advanced new cars.


1. Ford Fiesta

2. Ford Focus

3. Vauxhall Corsa

4. Vauxhall Astra

5. Volkswagen Golf

6. Nissan Qashqai

7. BMW 3 Series

8. Volkswagen Polo

9. BMW 1 Series

10. Peugeot 208

‘We expect new car registrations to remain stable in 2014 as customers return to a more regular replacement cycle.’

Sales in the Britain have been in contrast to the subdued European market.

The SMMT data shows that Britain is the second largest market in Europe after Germany.

Data to November shows car sales in Britain were up 9.9 per cent - or over 190,000 motors in 2013

The EU27 market as whole was down 2.7 per cent or by more than 300,000 vehicles.

The Spanish market - supported by a scrappage scheme - saw volumes rise 2.1 per cent in 2013, while the German market was down almost five per cent and France and Italy by over seven per cent.

Mike Hawes added: ‘With its best year since a pre-recession 2007, the UK new car market has helped stimulate the country's economic recovery.

‘While the European market is only now showing signs of improvement, the UK has consistently outperformed the rest of Europe with 22 consecutive months of growth.’

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Posted on 10th January 2014 at 1:38 PM

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