New car registrations rise 7.9 per cent in May

Figures indicate a steady growth in demand from private buyers.

The Vauxhall Corsa was the best-selling model in May. Photograph: Getty Images

New car registrations in the UK reached 162,288 units in May – an increase of 7.9 per cent, compared to 150,431 for the same period last year – according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) today.

The annual growth rate was the strongest since June 2010 and was the third (and largest) monthly increase in a row.

Fleet volumes also picked up in May, as did petrol and diesel cars.

The Vauxhall Corsa was the best-selling model in May, shifting 8,413 units. The Ford Fiesta was most successful over the first five months of 2012.

Paul Everitt, chief executive of SMMT, said:

May’s 7.9 per cent increase in new car registrations is good news for the motor industry and the UK economy, particularly the steady growth in demand from private buyers.

There is no doubt that vehicle manufacturers and their dealer networks are working hard to deliver value for money to motorists and the consistent climb in new car registrations during the first five months of the year suggests that confidence is returning, despite financial uncertainty in the eurozone.