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New car marketNewsDealerprofileNew car newsUsed carRecruitmentanalysisNewsdigestShowroomNew car marketBy Tim RoseThe motor retail industry has welcomed a stable start to 2012 as official figures show the drop in new car sales flattened.Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed 128,853 new cars were registered in the first month of the year, which equated to a 0.03% rise - 42 more cars - on January 2011.Dealers should also be heartened that the result included a 2.3% uplift in private registrations. Perhaps the consumer was in 'January sales' fever. Motor retailers which AM spoke to last month had appeared relatively buoyed, and said their carmakers had "turned on the taps" with marketing spend which was bringing more customers into their showrooms.Sales to business customers declined significantly, however fleet demand remained strong, continuing to support the overall market.The January result was "a welcome sign of stability in uncertain economic times" according to Paul Everitt, chief executive of the SMMT. He said: "2012 is set to be an exciting year with record numbers of new models coming to market filled with innovative technology that will save the motorist fuel, enhance comfort and further increase levels of safety and security. "However, to maintain market stability, Govern-ment must act decisively and deliver much needed confidence to businesses and consumers."His counterpart at the RMI National Franchised Dealers Association, director Sue Robinson, said: "The growth in sales last month shows some sign that the market is finally beginning to recover. Top 10 models in January by UK regionClick here January 2012new car regs by UK regionClick here Carmakers' increased marketing pays dividends with a stable opening to 2012New year car sales start off with slight increase'The growth in sales last month shows some sign that the market is finally beginning to recover'Sue RobinsonSue RobinsonPaul Everitt

"However the Govern­ment still needs to look at schemes that could improve consumer confidence and boost spending to ensure the growth continues. This is a message we relayed at our recent MP and ministerial meetings."January typically accounts for around 7% of annual registrations, ahead of the key March market, which typically represents 18% of the annual market and approx­imately 65% of volumes registered in quarter one.SMMT revised down its full year forecast of the new car market in 2012 to 1.92 million units, a 1.1% drop on the 1.94 million unit outturn in 2011. The economic outlook remains weak and continues to make the new car market challenging, but new New car marketand more efficient products should provide support to volumes as we move forward through 2012. The market is expected to grow to 1.98 million units in 2013.The risersAlmost half of the brands in the UK's new car market achieved double-digit growth last month in comparison to their January 2011 performances. A significant increase in sales volumes was recorded by brands including Kia (up 38.1%), Land Rover (up 38%), Nissan (up 21.5%) and Mercedes-Benz (up 20.8%).January 1 Ford Fiesta 7,824 2 Ford Focus 5,643 3 Volkswagen Golf 3,992 4 Vauxhall Corsa 3,624 5 Vauxhall Astra 3,340 6 Volkswagen Polo 2,898 7 Vauxhall Insignia 2,719 8 Nissan Qashqai 2,627 9 Audi A3 2,380 10 Peugeot 207 2,364 Source: 10 best-sellersNew car registrationsSource: Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business2012 128,853 69,180 57,554 2,119 52,960 70,649 5,2442011 128,811 65,104 61,907 1,800 51,574 70,447 6,790% change 0.0% 6.3% -7.0% 17.7% 2.7% 0.3% -22.8%Mkt share '12 53.7% 44.7% 1.6% 41.1% 54.8% 4.1%Mkt share '12 50.5% 48.1% 1.4% 40.0% 54.7% 5.3%'Ford had a strong month, lifting its sales by 2.06% year-on-year thanks to some 400 extra registrations and winning a 15.57% share of the market'Fiesta was the top selling model in JanuaryMG's franchised network had 107 registrations in January