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New car sales 'surprisingly high'

Wednesday August 8th 2012

Consumers are showing a strong appetite for new cars despite the economic climate, new figures show.

New car registrations have risen for a fifth consecutive month, with the total of 143,844 units for July being the highest this year and representing a 9.3% increase on July 2011, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Strong consumer demand for more efficient models is said to be a key factor behind the figures, with registrations of alternatively-fuelled cars 45.9% up.

The SMMT data revealed that the Ford Fiesta was the best-selling model in July this year, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa, Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

Making up the remainder of the top 10 was the Nissan Qashqai in sixth place, ahead of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Volkswagen Polo, Audi A3 and Vauxhall Insignia.

"Although consumer confidence in the UK remains at a low level, car makers are offering a higher than normal release of new models and large discounts to consumers," said John Leech, partner in KPMG's automotive practice.

"Dealer profits are generally healthy and put the industry in good shape to respond to any future shocks to consumer confidence from the ongoing eurozone crisis."

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