LONDON - Sales of new passenger cars in the UK rose 2.1 percent during the first six months of 2000. They remain on course for a year-end total of 2.2 million, little changed from 1999 levels.
Demand slowed a little in the second quarter, mainly because a new sales-boosting license plate change system was introduced in the equivalent period last year.
June sales were 1.6 percent down against 1999's record, but the month was still the second-best June market ever in the UK with 193,360 registrations.
Overall, healthy half-year sales of more than 1.2 million were boosted by a strong UK economy, new models, advantageous finance deals, and lower prices as manufacturers reacted to claims that UK motorists are paying too much for their new cars.
The UK Consumers' Association has been running a campaign titled 'Rip-off Britain' to highlight the gulf between the prices of new cars in the domestic market and cheaper prices on the European mainland.
Ford's Focus and Fiesta were the No. 1 and No. 2 sellers.