Sales totalled 162,288 cars last month (May 2011: 150,431) to take year-to-date volumes to 868,166 units, 2.6% up on last year’s January to May figure (846,513).
The 11,857 unit increase in sales last month represented the strongest rate of growth since the scrappage-induced rise in June 2010 and was the third, and largest, monthly increase in a row.
The increase in fleet sales to 87,126 (May 2011: 83,121) ended a three-month decline in volumes. It means that 2012 fleet sales at 435,501 are fractionally below last year’s registrations (435,607).
Business sector sales last month fell 13.5% to 5,490 (May 2011: 6,347) to leave year-to-date demand 20.2% down at 36,301 units (2011: 45,500).
Private new car sales totalled 69,672 units last month (May 2011: 60,963) to leave 2012 volumes 8.5% up on last year’s five month total at 396,364 (2011: 365,406).
The May market was more than 6% and 9,000 units above the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ forecast for the month.
Paul Everitt, chief executive of the SMMT, said: ‘May’s 7.9% increase in new car registrations is good news for the motor industry and theUKeconomy, particularly the steady growth in demand from private buyers.
‘There is no doubt that vehicle manufacturers and their dealer networks are working hard to deliver value for money to motorists and the consistent climb in new car registrations during the first five months of the year suggests that confidence is returning, despite financial uncertainty in the eurozone.’
As new models came to market, the alternatively-fuelled sector grew 31.8% last month, although volumes remain small at 2,108 registrations (May 2011: 1,599). Registrations of alternatively-fuelled cars so far this year total 12,145 (2011: 11,347).
The Vauxhall Corsa was the best-selling model in May (8,413 units), with Ford’s Fiesta top over the first five months of 2012 (50,507 units). Ford was the best-selling motor manufacturer last month (23,255 registrations) and is the best-selling car company this year with sales of 126,724 units, up 5.59%.