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Ahead of the May 7th general election Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggest that the new car market in the UK continues to grow. Registrations are up for the 38th consecutive month in April and demand increased by more than 5% to over 185,000 units – the best performing month in a decade. Year-to-date registrations for this year are also up with a 6.4% increase to 920,366 units.

April's impressive performance, monitors a 12-year high in terms of consumer confidence and sees the continuation of growth in new car registrations around general elections that dating back to 1979. Demand post-election is forecast to continue in line with this trend. Reasons cited for this demand include availability of new products, attractive finance deals and low interest rates appeal to drivers and businesses to give the new car market their vote of confidence.

All but three of the past nine general elections have coincided with an increase in new car demand in the 12 week period immediately before and after polling day. Interesting exceptions occurred during the recessions of 1992 and 2010, and during the 2005 election when registrations dipped as part of natural market readjustment after hitting peak volumes in 2002.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented: "Today's figures highlight the current strength of consumer confidence, even at a time of such political uncertainty. We are confident that the UK's new car market – so symbolic of economic mood – will continue to thrive, but long-term success will depend largely on economic and political stability in the months and years ahead. Whatever the outcome of today's election, the next government must act quickly to uphold economic certainty and reassure consumers and markets."


By Tracey McBain