Scrappage scheme kick-starts car sales

* Car sales 15.7% down * Scrappage scheme helps slow rate of decline * Sales still down 25.9% year-to-date...

Scrappage scheme kick-starts car sales

New car sales were down 15.7% in June, compared with the same period last year, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) today.

June's decline in new car registrations is the smallest since the global credit crisis hit last summer and the SMMT says it has been the Government's scrappage scheme, which started at the end of May, that has kick-started new car sales.

'We are now beginning to see the positive impact of the scrappage scheme translate into new vehicle registrations,' said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.

'SMMT expects the pace of improvement to increase in the coming months, but we can already see the industry making steady progress on the long road to recovery.'

Ford Fiesta is biggest seller
The biggest selling car in June was Ford's Fiesta supermini. The company says it has taken more than 13,000 orders through the scrappage scheme to date - with around 5500 of those being Fiestas.

'Ford has taken a healthy share of scrappage business considering the limited number of models we have in the budget area, which represents the vast majority of these sales,' said Ford of Britain managing director Nigel Sharp.

Top 10 best-selling cars June 09
Ford Fiesta
Ford Focus
Vauxhall Corsa
Vauxhall Astra
Peugeot 207
Volkswagen Golf
Ford Mondeo
Vauxhall Insignia
BMW 3 Series

Five scrappage facts
The scrappage scheme was launched on May 18. Under the scheme, the Government will provide a 1000 incentive, with another 1000 from the vehicle manufacturer, for consumers to replace their 10-year-old or older vehicle with a brand new model. The old vehicle must have been registered in the UK to the consumer for at least 12 months.

There have been about 10,000 cars a week bought through the scheme since it was launched.

Hyundai sold 91% more cars this June than it sold in June 08. It has sold almost 6000 cars through the scheme - including 2087 i10s, 2615 i20s and 1119 i30s.

Registrations to private buyers rose from the first time since November 2007.

Rolls-Royce and London Taxi Internation have signed up to the scrappage scheme