Rises in business and fleet vehicle registrations contributed to an overall increase in new car demand during March.
There were 194,575 fleet sales and 34,279 business registrations during the third month of 2008, increases of 2.6% and 1.8% respectively on February’s figures.
The sales represent a rise of 0.8% in fleet registrations in the first quarter compared to 2007, while business sales remain the same.
This means that fleet makes up 43.1% of the total registrations in March, and 48.3% in 2008 so far.
Business sales account for 7.6% of the total in March and 7% in 2008.
Meanwhile, the private sector saw a softening of demand, with registrations down by 1.4% in March and 2.4% over the first quarter.
But volumes are nevertheless well above expected levels, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Private sales account for 49.3% of the total during March, and 44.9% so far in 2008.
The performance so far means that Q1 overall is almost 20,000 units ahead of the forecast, and the SMMT is to review its predictions for the year during this month.
Economic data shows that unemployment in the UK remains low and retail sales are still positive.
However, the forecasts for gross domestic product growth this year still suggest a softening, which may affect new car demand.