New car sales rise in January

* Small increase of just 0.03% * Market expected to remain stable in 2012 * Forecasts suggest growth in 2013...

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Pete Barden
06 February 2012

New car sales rise in January

New car sales stabilised in January, with an increase of 0.03% compared with the same period in 2011.

A rise in private sales up by 2.7% on January 2011 helped to boost the market, while further growth in the fleet sector also buoyed sales.

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) also revealed that demand for diesel cars continues to drive the market. Diesel power increased its market share to 53.7% in January, compared with 50.5% a year ago.

Registrations of alternatively fuelled vehicles were also on the up recording a 17.6% increase. Such cars now account for 1.6% of the market.

Once again, the best-selling car was the Ford Fiesta, while four of the top 10 cars were superminis.

The SMMT cut its full-year forecast for 2012 to 1.92 million new registrations, a 1.1% fall on the 1.94 million total achieved in 2011. However, the organisation believes new, more-efficient products will help the market recover to sales of 1.98 million in 2013.

SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: '2012 is set to be an exciting year with record numbers of new models coming to market filled with innovative technology that will save the motorist fuel, enhance comfort and further increase levels of safety and security.

Top 10 sellers: source SMMT

Pete Barden