UK car sales buck Europe downturn with 11.5% rise in January
New-car registrations in the UK rose 11.5 percent to 143,643 in January as the market continued to buck the downward trend in other key European markets.
The year-on-year increase contrasted with Germany, France, Italy and Spain which all saw a drop in volume last month.
The jump in UK sales was largely driven by a surge in private demand, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Lifted by a solid rise in private demand, the new-car market posted its 11th successive month of growth with motorists attracted to forecourts by the latest models and competitive deals on offer," said SMMT Interim CEO Mike Baunton. "Building on a strong performance in 2012 ... we anticipate a modest rise over the year, followed by further growth in 2014," he said.
The rise marked the third consecutive month of double-digit growth despite consumers facing an extended squeeze on their finances.
"Despite January's encouraging start to 2013 after a resilient performance in 2012, the motor industry currently faces far from easy conditions with consumers still confronted by significant headwinds and businesses under pressure to contain costs," said IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer.
Key European markets fall
Passenger car registrations in Germany, Europe's largest market, dropped nearly 9 percent in January. In France, registrations fell 15 percent to their lowest January level in 15 years. Sales in Italy were down 17.6 percent, while Spain's volume dropped 9.6 percent.
Reuters contributed to this report
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