Scots new car sales lag behind UK

Registrations of new cars in Scotland fell over the past year by more than 6%, while English sales saw a healthy rise, new figures show.

The number of new cars registered in Scotland in June was down by 1,000 from 17,100 in June 2009.

Sales for the first half of 2010 are up by 11% in Scotland - from 84,900 to 94,500 - but that is just much less than the growth for England, at 21%.

Wales and Northern Ireland have also seen faster growth than Scotland.

The UK figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders was seen as a sign of the economic recovery firming up, at a time when the end of the former government's scrappage subsidy scheme was expected to result in a slump in sales.

However, an SMMT spokesman said there were signs that companies with fleets of cars had begun to move back into the market, catching up on postponed investments over the past two years when sales fell steeply.

Many of the cars operated by companies in Scotland are bought as part of fleets and counted as registrations in England.

That was seen as one of the reasons why Scottish registrations of new cars fell last year at a much slower pace than in England.

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