New car registrations in March were boosted by the introduction of the `T’ plate. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says there were 370,060 new registrations in March, an increase of 73.4% on March 1998. The total for the first quarter was up 2.1% on the first quarter of 1998.
Ford maintained its lead with 63,137 registrations, a share of 17.1%, down from 19.2% in March 1998. The largest gainer of market share was Volkswagen, with 6.4%, up from 4.5% a year ago. There was little joy for Rover as the company’s share of the market was just 7%, down from 10.2%.
The next registration plate, V, is due in September 1999.
Meanwhile, engineering turnover fell 1% in February, but was 1.4% higher than a year before, according to official statistics. Within engineering, machinery and equipment was hardest hit, with turnover and orders on hand both at their lowest levels since 1995. Electrical and optical equipment did better, with orders on hand up 0.9% and turnover rising to the highest level since 1995.
Machine tool turnover fell to £181m in February, down 15.7% on the previous year. Orders on hand fell 29.4% over the same period.