- New car volumes rose 1.8% in March to 372,835 new 12-plate registrations.
- March is typically the largest month for registrations, averaging 18% of the full year’s volume.
- Quarter one volumes rose 0.9%, to 563,556 units on the back of better than expected March.
- Private registrations showed one of the best monthly increases in the past two years, up 7.4% in March.
“The important March new car market performed above expectations rising 1.8% to 372,835 units, boosted by the third consecutive month of retail growth. Domestic demand for new cars is showing signs of recovery with private buyers increasingly returning to take advantage of a wide range of excellent products and, this month, the new 12-plate,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive.
Better than expected March lifts Q1 volumes
- March’s 372,835 units bettered SMMT’s forecast for the month by some 20,000 units or almost 6%.
- March typically accounts for 18.0% of annual volumes, but the 2012 outturn would represent 19.4% of SMMT’s full year forecast of 1.92 million units (set in January).
- The growth in registrations in March, comes on top of a weak 2011 performance. Registrations in the month remain some 17% off the 2007, pre-recession, market total.
- Registrations have risen in four of the past eight months, but the underlying market trend is more about stability than growth. The 12-month running total has been around 1.95 million units since June 2011.
- March and quarter one volumes were lifted by recovery in the private market. The overall market rose by 0.9% in quarter one.
- The market shares for diesel and alternatively-fuelled vehicles continue to rise, reaching 50.4% and 1.5% respectively in quarter one, with volumes up 4.7% and 5.6% respectively on 2011 levels.
- Supermini registrations rose in both March and Q1, to account for 39.1% and 37.7% respectively of the market. The Dual Purpose, Specialist Sports, Executive and Lower Medium segments showed the best growth in March.
- The Ford Fiesta was the best-selling model in both March and over the first three months of 2012.
- Registrations of UK-built cars rose by 12.3% in March, as their market share rose to 14.6%, from 13.3% a year ago.
- SMMT’s 11th Average New Car CO2 Report will be published on 18 April, tracking the improvement in fuel efficiency and emissions over the past decade.
Click through to download the full March 2012 new car registrations news release and data table.