Private buyers push up car sales by 21 per cent

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Strong demand from private car buyers fuelled an unexpected surge in car sales last month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said yesterday, writes Chris Godsmark.

Registrations of new cars in October jumped by 13.3 per cent to 154,733 compared with the same month in 1995.

Sales to private buyers, which have been sluggish all year, were up 21 per cent while fleet sales rose by a more modest 7.5 per cent.

The figures bring total sales for the first 10 months of this year to 1,811,967, an increase of 4.69 per cent.

Ford once again headed the sales league with a 21 per cent share of the market and grabbed the first three places in the best-sellers' list.

Volkswagen, Peugeot, Fiat, Mazda and Mitsubishi also showed particularly strong growth in sales.

A spokesman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said: "It is tempting to suggest that the interest generated by the recent Motor Show has brought customers into the showrooms, but we must wait for the November figures for confirmation of this."