Car sales motor 12 per cent ahead in October


Britons bought 12 per cent more cars this October than last – which was not just good news on the forecourts but also as a barometer of growing consumer confidence. The growing demand for new vehicles saw optimistic car makers raise their expectations for sales this year.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reported that car registrations in the UK rose 12.1 per cent on the year in October to 151,252 units. As a result, it has upped its forecast for 2012 sales: the SMMT now expects more than 2 million new car registrations this year, from an earlier expectation of 1.92 million.

The outlook in the UK contrasts with falling sales in Europe. October's 12 per cent growth also far outpaces the 5 per cent rise recorded so far on Britain's forecourts this year.

"UK consumers continue to drive the market, with sales consistently growing," Richard Lowe, the head of retail at Barclays said. But he added: "The latest GDP figures may further boost this confidence, but with the economic recovery likely to be a long and winding road, we may see private buyer appetite slowing as we head into 2013."