New car sales up slightly last month


New car sales edged up a fraction last month, official figures showed today.

There were 128,853 new registrations in January 2012 - a 0.03% rise on the figure of 128,811 in January 2011, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

The new car market is expected to remain stable this year, dipping just 1% to 1.92 million units in 2012, before recovering in 2013, the SMMT said today.

SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: "The January new car market held firm - a welcome sign of stability in uncertain economic times."

He went on: "2012 is set to be an exciting year, with record numbers of new models coming to the market filled with innovative technology that will save the motorist fuel, enhance comfort and further increase levels of safety and security.

"However, to maintain market stability, Government must act decisively and deliver much-needed confidence to businesses and consumers."

Last month's figures were boosted by private sales which were up 2.7%, while there was also growth in the fleet sector.

Demand for diesel cars continued to increase in January 2012, with diesel's share of the market rising from 50.5% a year ago to 53.7%.

Registrations of alternatively fuelled vehicles rose by 17.7% in the month, but accounted for only 1.6% of the market.

The Ford Fiesta was the best-selling model in January 2012. Four of the top sellers were superminis and the segment showed the largest rise in volumes during January.