New car sales hit record for March
New car sales, boosted by last month's new "15" number plates, have raced to a 21st century record.
A total of 492,774 new registrations were recorded in March 2015 - the highest monthly figure since August 1998 and the best March ever, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
Last month's figure was 6.0% up on March 2014 and took the year-so-far total to 734,588 - a 6.8% rise on the January-March 2014 figure.
This was the 37th month of consecutive growth for the new-car market.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "The best month this century for new car registrations is a welcome boost for the UK's thriving automotive sector.
"The challenge for a new government and industry will be to maintain this momentum and to strengthen Britain's manufacturing capabilities through continued investment, innovation and policies which maintain our global competitiveness.
"Whatever the General Election result, the new government must keep up the commitment to the sector which is delivering at home and abroad."
The monthly record for new car sales was achieved in August 1997 when 525,000 new registrations were recorded at a time when the new number plates were only introduced once a year, in August.
After August 1998 saw 505,000 new registrations recorded, the system was changed in 1999, with new plates being introduced in March and September - an arrangement that has carried on.
These were the best-selling models in March 2015:
1. Ford Fiesta
2. Vauxhall Corsa
3. Ford Focus
4. Nissan Qashqai
5. Volkswagen Golf
6. Volkswagen Polo
7. Vauxhall Astra
8. Audi A3
9. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
10. Fiat 500