August registrations were up 6.2% year-on-year to 77,246 units, advancing total registrations for year to 1,519,435 units, a rise of 5.2% year-on-year.
Last month was the eleventh consecutive month of growth in the new car market, with predictions that the new registration plate launched this month will boost sales even further, with an estimated 400,000 units sold.
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Christopher Macgowan said: 'The August registration figures are more good news for both the industry and the car buyer. We expect sales to continue to boom in September and although demand is likely to ease in the final quarter, 2001 may yet be record year.'
The full year forecast now stands at 2.3 million units, just short of the all time sales record set in 1989 of 2,300,944 units.
Sales to fleets of more than 25 vehicles and sub-25 vehicle fleets were 2.1% and 2.9% up year-on-year respectively at 40,595 and 4,527 units. However, despite the boost the fleet market has yet to reach last year's level, with year to date fleet registrations of 655,305 down 3.5% year-on-year, and sales to small fleets down 11% at 132,971 for the year.
The Ford Focus continued its dominance of new car sales, with 5,706 registrations last month, taking its total for the year to 87,464, marking its sixteenth month at the top of the sales chart. Vauxhall's Corsa took second spot last month, with 4,292 sales, followed by the Astra, with 3,512 sales, Renault Megane with 3,403 units and Citroen Xsara with 3,124 units.
Market share for diesel sales is now 16.4% at 249,883 units, the highest since 1997, as drivers react to higher fuel prices and the demand to run lower CO2 emitting cars.
- VAN sales last month jumped nearly 6% ahead of August sales last year to 11,684 units, as companies targeted key benefits of smaller vehicles. Year to date sales are now 156,544, up 2.5% year-on-year, with predictions now suggesting that the market will beat last year's levels.