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March highest month ever recorded for new car registrations

Wednesday 05 April 2017, By AutoVolo

March highest month ever recorded for new car registrations

March highest month ever recorded for new car registrations

March saw the highest number of new vehicle registrations since records began, the SMMT has revealed.

This was caused by drivers rushing to buy new vehicles before the vehicle excise duty (VED) rates changed on April 1. Whereas previously vehicles were charged annually according to their emissions, all new cars (except zero emissions models) will now be subject to a flat-rate charge.

Diesel has fallen from favour among motorists following recent proposals to introduce new charges for high polluting vehicles, with March sales increasing by only 1.6 per cent on the year before. Alternatively fuelled vehicles, meanwhile, saw a growth of 31 per cent, while petrol models grew by 13.2 per cent.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, commented: “These record figures are undoubtedly boosted by consumers and businesses reacting to new VED changes, pulling forward purchases into March, especially those ultra low-emission vehicles that will no longer benefit from a zero-rate fee.”

Paul Kaye, Sales and Marketing Director at Close Brothers Motor Finance, added that customers holding out for a 17-plate model gave a further boost to sales in March.

In March a total of 562,337 new cars were registered, 43,630 more than the same period in 2016 and over double the number for the first two months of the year combined.

In the first quarter of 2017, 820,016 new cars were purchased, an increase of 6.2 per cent on the same period in 2016 and a record for the quarter.