New car sales surged in January

New car sales surged in January

There was a surge in sales of new cars in January with a particular increase in private sales, according to the latest figures.

New car sales were up by 11.5% on January 2012 to reach a total of 143,643, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

The overall rise was largely driven by a hefty increase of almost 16% in private sales, the SMMT revealed, while there was also 8% growth in sales of alternatively-fuelled cars, a choice which can often help keep car insurance costs down.

Ford Fiesta was the number one best seller, with the remainder of the top five taken up by the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Vauxhall Corsa and Nissan Qashqai. Volkswagen Golf, Peugeot 208, Volkswagen Polo, Nissan Juke and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class completed the top 10.

SMMT interim chief executive Mike Baunton described it as a confident start to the year for the new car market, adding: "Lifted by a solid rise in private demand, the market posted its 11th successive month of growth with motorists attracted to forecourts by the latest models and competitive deals on offer."

Mr Baunton said the SMMT expected a "modest" 0.6% increase over the year.

Copyright Press Association 2013