SMMT reports third rise in car sales

New car sales in the UK rose by 11.4 per cent in September, their third consecutive rise, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The organisation said that 367,929 cars were sold in the month, compared to 330,295 in the same period a year earlier.

This rise is expected to be the largest in 2009, making up almost 20 per cent of annual volumes. The market is currently 54,017 units up on the volume recorded in March, which in the previous five years had been the largest monthly market.

The figures showed that registrations from private buyers were up 41.3 per cent. Small cars sales also performed well, with mini volumes up 195 per cent and the supermini segment up 21.2 per cent in the month.

Alternatively fuelled vehicle registrations rose 45.5 per cent throughout September, largely as a result of new models. Average new car CO2 emissions fell 4.9 per cent over the year to date, to 150.2g/km.

The SMMT has attributed the strong figures to the positive affects of the scrappage scheme, which the government introduced earlier this year.

The scheme gives drivers £2,000 off a new car model when trading in a car that is 10 years old or more. Last week the government announced a £100m extension to continue the scheme past February 2010.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘New car registrations rose for the third month in a row in September. Market conditions remain challenging, with demand being underpinned by the extremely successful scrappage incentive scheme.

‘The extension of the scheme will help to sustain demand through the latter part of this year and into 2010. This will allow economic recovery to strengthen and safeguard valuable industrial capability.’

Modest growth of 2.5 per cent has been forecast for the year. The market is currently 30,000 units above forecast but still 51,361 units down on the 2007 September market and 9.5 per cent off the average for the month between 1999-2008.