Sales of new cars in the UK last month remained strong, in contrast to sales in the rest of Europe.
A report released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows that UK new car registrations in February 2013 totalled 66,749, an increase of 7.9% on the same month last year.
New car registrations have risen every month for the last year, said Mike Baunton, interim chief executive of the SMMT.
Baunton pointed out that February is traditionally a low-volume month ahead of the plate-change in March, but the market was sustained by attractive new car deals.
February’s increase was on a par with the average growth over the last three months and was above the 6.4% average growth recorded in the last 12 months.
Sales last month were mainly driven by private purchases. Petrol and alternatively-fuelled cars proved most popular, with registrations rising by more than a fifth year-on-year. The Ford Focus was the best selling model in February, followed by the Ford Fiesta and the Vauxhall Corsa.
For the first two months of the year, registrations grew 10.3% to a total of 210,392 units.
Sales trends are heading in the opposite direction in Europe, where demand for new cars has been falling amid economic turmoil in the eurozone. European vehicle sales fell by 8.2% in 2012, according to the BBC.
The president of Renault and Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, told Sky News on Tuesday that dwindling demand in Europe is a major concern to global carmakers, with the market remaining depressed and overcapacity contributing to the problem.
The UK has had its own economic difficulties, experiencing a double-dip recession last year and another contraction in the economy in the final quarter of 2012. The SMMT believes that the continued growth in new car sales in the UK is likely to be the result of market specific factors, with customers enticed to replace older vehicles as a result of attractive deals and offers on new, more efficient cars.