Truck sales increase for third month

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The Independent Online
LEYLAND DAF increased its truck sales by 29 per cent last month as the UK commercial vehicle market continued its modest recovery.

Total sales of vans, trucks and articulated lorries in January were 4.4 per cent up on the same month last year at 17,418, according to figures released yesterday by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

This is the third successive month in which commercial vehicle sales have risen, and supports forecasts that the truck market could increase by 10-13 per cent this year from its 1992 low of 31,398.

Robin Cook, Labour's trade spokesman, seized on the increase in Leyland's truck sales - up from 464 to 595 - as supporting the case for a rescue of the business. However, sales of Leyland DAF vans slumped last month by nearly a third to 694.

Car sales also continued to rebound, with January's total reaching 164,939. This was 7.3 per cent up on the level achieved a year ago and the fourth consecutive month in which year-on-year sales have increased.

The latest increases appear to confirm that the motor industry has stemmed the slide in sales of the past three years. Ian McAllister, chairman of Ford, said is suggested that a 'sustained recovery' could be underway. It was partcularly encouraging that the increase in sales was due not to fleet buyers but private customers and suggested that cuts in interest rates and the abolition of car tax were having a positive effect on consumer confidence.

Sir Hal Miller, chief executive of the SMMT, said it was too early to predict total sales for 1993, but forecast continuing improvement throughout the year. Although the slight increase in commercial vehicle sales was welcome, the low volume reflected the 'continuing serious state' of the industry.

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