Quarterly car sales up 26% on 2009

The car industry recovery is looking more solid following news that 26.6% more cars were sold last month than in March 2009, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The total of 397,383 new cars sold in March this year should be compared with the same month last year which was at least 30% down from March 2008, the society said.

The Government's "cash for bangers" initiative, introduced in May 2009 and which ended last month, helped to breathe life into the new-car market - the society said the car scrappage scheme accounted for 12.2% of new registrations in March.

While a complete recovery is some way off, the signs are promising: sales in the first quarter of this year are up 27.3% on 2009.

The society's chief executive, Paul Everitt, said: "The UK motor industry has enjoyed a better-than-anticipated first quarter of 2010. A strong March performance was underpinned by the scrappage incentive and improving demand in the fleet sector. The coming months will remain challenging and headline registration numbers are expected to dip, but underlying demand will continue to improve slowly."

The top-selling cars of March 2010 were (in order) Ford Fiesta; Ford Focus; Vauxhall Astra; Vauxhall Corsa; Volkswagen Golf; Peugeot 207; Renault Clio; Mini; Volkswagen Polo; Renault Megane.

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