Small January rise in new car sales

January saw a good start to the 2012 car market, with a marginal rise in new sales.

In a year set to be stable yet exciting, sales rose by 0.03% - from 128,811 new registrations in January 2011 to 128,853 in January 2012.

Last month's figures were boosted by private sales which were up 2.7%, while there was also growth in the fleet sector.

A rise in the number ofcar insurance premiums being taken out looks set to accompany the marginal increase in new car sales, as drivers cover themselves before setting out on the road.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) celebrated the figures. SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: "2012 is set to be an exciting year, with record numbers of new models coming to the market filled with innovative technology that will save the motorist fuel, enhance comfort and further increase levels of safety and security."

The new car market is expected to remain stable this year, dipping just 1% to 1.92 million units in 2012, before recovering in 2013, the Society said.

Demand for diesel cars continued to increase in January 2012, with diesel's share of the market rising from 50.5% a year ago to 53.7%.

Registrations of alternatively fuelled vehicles rose by 17.7% in the month, but accounts for only 1.6% of the market.

Copyright © Press Association 2012