Belfast Telegraph

New car sales continue to rise

New car sales will show another healthy rise when official figures for March 2010 are published.

The reason for the big increase is the marked downturn in new registrations at the beginning of 2009.

This time last year the motor industry was in the doldrums, with production cut back to match the decline in demand for consumers.

Sales in March 2009 were more than 30% down on those for March 2008. It was the introduction of the Government's "cash for bangers" car scrappage scheme in May last year which finally kick-started sales.

The March 2010 rise will be the ninth successive monthly increase for new registrations. The rises - which started in July 2009 - followed 15 successive months of falls.

One company that has done particularly well in March 2010 is Land Rover which is expected to announce its best month ever for world sales.

The car scrappage scheme, to which the Government contributed £400 million, has now finished and the true indication of how well the motor industry is doing will come later in the year when the monthly sales figures are compared with the scrappage-boosted last months of 2009.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which will announce the March 2010 figures, has warned of a possible market decline in the second half of this year.

The SMMT said last month that total sales of new cars for 2010 are likely to be about 10% down at 1.82 million.