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New car market By Tim Rose New car registrations in March hit almost 400,000 units as demand from fleets continued to improve and bonus- hungry dealers drove retail sales of 10- plate vehicles. The Scrappage Incentive Scheme, which took its last orders on the final day of March, accounted for 12.2% of the total 397,383 registrations. March is typically the biggest volume month of the year and its strong performance drove the end- of- Q1 total up to 611,548 registrations. That is a signif­icant improvement on 2009' s Q1 result of 480,358 and shows that the market is regaining ground on pre- recessionary times. In 2008, the market ended the first quarter at 683,349 registrations, only 71,801 units ahead of this year. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said growth was led by private buyers, but fleet and business demand also improved. Its chief executive, Paul Everitt, said: " The UK motor industry has enjoyed a better than antici­pated first quarter of 2010. A strong March perform­ance was underpinned by the scrappage incentive and improving demand in the fleet sector. " The coming months will remain challenging and headline registration numbers are expected to dip, but underlying demand will continue to improve slowly." At the RMI, director Sue Robinson, head of the National Franchised Dealers Association, said she expects the new car market to remain relatively strong over the next few months as the remaining Top 10 models in March by UK region click here March 2010 new car regs by UK region click here March Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business 2010 397,383 161,901 231,910 3,572 212,443 164,250 20,690 2009 313,912 136,200 175,455 2,257 159,094 135,809 19,009 % change 26.60% 18.90% 32.20% 58.30% 33.50% 20.90% 8.80% Mkt share ' 10 40.70% 58.40% 0.90% 53.50% 41.30% 5.20% Mkt share ' 09 43.40% 55.90% 0.70% 50.70% 43.30% 6.10% March new car registrations Growth led by private buyers in better than anticipated first quarter March sales figures continue upward trend New car registrations for March 2010 click here ' The coming months will remain challenging but underlying demand willl continue to improve slowly'

New car market Aftersales conference News Showroom AM contacts Used car market News digest Recruitment ?? ?? Continues ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? vehicles ordered under scrappage are delivered. However, Robinson warned of " fragility" in the market. " The impending General Election is also likely to be a distraction for consumers and to keep buyers out of the showroom in the short term. Once the election result is known, it is likely to give a boost to consumer confidence, which should encourage the public to buy cars," she added. Top risers Plenty of the mainstream, value and even prestige brands have pulled thousands of registrations ahead of this time last year. Hyundai and Kia were star performers, and not all of their growth was down to scrappage orders either. Picanto, Rio, Cee'd and Sportage all sold well for Kia, while Hyundai's growth was fuelled by i10, i20 and i30. Kia Motors UK sales director Yaser Shabsogh said: " While scrappage has undoubtedly helped new car volumes since May of last year the general retail marketing is currently very strong and dealers are reporting good levels of showroom footfall and healthy orders even without scrappage. In fact , our Q1 non- scrappage sales were up by 22% against last year. " The success of Kia in the first quarter shows that the brand has become a true mainstream compet­itor amongst retail customers and that is a tribute to the efforts of our dealers over the past year and more," he added. Renault, deep in the doldrums this time last year, now has its foot firmly back on the accelerator with 20,919 units, mostly Clios or Meganes. Its alliance partner Nissan also is performing strongly with 14,780 registrations, led by its British- built Qashqai, Note and Micra. Market leader Ford grew its sales by almost 10,000 to 62,075 registrations, with Fiesta and Focus