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Fleet registrations up 6.0% for January

The fleet sector achieved registrations of 75,211 units last month, up by 6.0% compared to 70,921 for January 2012. Meanwhile registrations within the sub-25 business sector rose 40.4% to 7,357 units from 5,239 for the same month last year.

And there was particularly positive news for private sales, which increased by 15.9% to 61,075 units from 52,693 in January 2012.

Overall, the market was up 11.5% to 143,643 units, marking the third month of double-digit growth in the past four months and the 11th successive monthly rise.

Interestingly, the growth in private and small car demand led to a rise in the market share held by petrol-engined models, from 44.7% in January 2012 to 47.7%.

The SMMT highlighted that the growth is set against a challenging economic backdrop, suggesting market-specific factors are helping to drive demand, such as delayed purchases being tempted by deals and offers.

Mike Baunton, interim chief executive, SMMT, added: ‘Lifted by a solid rise in private demand, the new car market posted its 11th successive month of growth with motorists attracted to forecourts by the latest models and competitive deals on offer. Building on a strong performance in 2012, SMMT has increased its market forecast – we anticipate a modest rise over the year, followed by further growth in 2014.’

Based on better-than-expected figures for 2012, the SMMT is predicting a rise in the market of 0.6% to 2.057 million units in 2013 and by 2.6% to 2.11 million units in 2014.

Sue Robinson, director of the RMI National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), commented: ‘Although the NFDA don’t expect to see major growth in the UK new car market during 2013 we do expect it to be stable. We expect the market to be supported by strong manufacturer deals and offers that will encourage consumers to buy.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.