New car sales score with 20th monthly increase

Ford Fiesta was top seller in October and leads the way for the year so far as well.

Ford Fiesta was top seller in October and leads the way for the year so far as well. - Credit: Ford

New car registrations hit 157,314 last month – a 4.0% rise on the previous October – which saw registrations so far this year climb 10.2% to 1,952,238 units.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has raised its new car forecast from 2.22 million to 2.25 million units for 2013, with the market set to grow at around 1% in 2014 and 2015.

The private market continues to drive total volumes up, with a 4.5% gain in October and a 15.7% increase year-to-date.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: 'With October new car registrations up we have now seen 20 consecutive months of growth.

'These sustained rises have been driven by robust private demand, a trend that has given us the confidence to raise our year-end forecast to 2.25 million units – 10% ahead of last year. Looking ahead, we anticipate more moderate growth as the market stabilises.'

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Ever greater emphasis on fuel efficiency, emissions and running costs, coupled with the greater refinement, performance and specification of smaller cars, has driven the trend for downsizing.

Increased choice, comfort and safety, as well as improved functionality, have enabled the market mix to evolve over time.

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The supermini segment remains largest by volume, while dual-purpose has seen the largest growth in market share.

The UK new car market has seen a shift from traditional family cars, particularly the upper medium segment, towards smaller vehicles, such as the Ford Fiesta, as well as multi-purpose vehicles and people-carriers and dual-purpose crossovers and sport utility vehicles over the past 10 years.

Top sellers last month, with the year so far in brackets, were:

1 Ford Fiesta 8,574 (104,621).

2 Vauxhall Corsa 5,155 (72,903).

3 Ford Focus 5,069 (76,493).

4 Volkswagen Golf 4,562 (56,357).

5 Vauxhall Astra 4,420 (57,758).

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