New car sales surge 30% in January

New car sales rose by 30% in January as the cold weather and rise in VAT did nothing to deter drivers looking to cash in on new-year deals.

A total of 145,500 new cars were registered on UK roads in the first month of the year, making it the seventh month in a row that new car sales have continued to rise.

The Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT) said incentives such as the Government's car scrappage scheme, which offers a £2,000 discount for buyers trading their old cars for scrap, boosted sales in the past year, but warned of "constrained" market conditions in 2010.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: "The industry expects another difficult year with the availability of finance, consumer confidence and sustaining demand post-scrappage key."

The SMMT said it expects demand for new cars to fall by 9% to 1.82 million units in the full year.

The popularity of small cars again proved its worth with the Ford Fiesta topping the list with 8,861 sales in January, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa (5,786) and the VW Golf (5,072).

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