UK car sales hit record high in June

New cars, as more than 1.3 million new cars were sold in the UK in the first six months of the year, Image copyright PA

UK new car sales in the year to June rose at the fastest rate on record, a motor industry survey has found.

The Society of Motoring Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said there was a 7% rise in new car sales in the first six months of the year, taking the total to more than 1.3 million.

In June alone, there was a 12.9% surge in car sales compared with a year ago, amounting to 257,817 sales.

About 15% of buyers chose a UK-manufactured vehicle, the SMMT said.

That was the highest level in five years, it added.

However, it said it expected slower growth in the next six months.

Low interest rates, attractive finance deals and the launch of new models continued to encourage consumers to buy new cars, the SMMT said.

It also reported a strong surge in demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles in June.

The Ford Fiesta remained the top-selling car last month, as it has all year, selling 12,543 units in June and 71,990 in the year to date.

Behind the Fiesta, the Vauxhall Corsa was the second best-selling car, with 9,561 unit sales in June and 50,125 in the year to date.

Best selling cars of 2015 (so far):

1. Ford Fiesta: 71,990

2. Vauxhall Corsa: 50,125

3. Ford Focus: 45,078

4. Volkswagen Golf: 38,261

5. Nissan Qashqai: 34,501

6. Vauxhall Astra: 29,966

7. Volkswagen Polo: 28,980

8. Audi A3: 25,765

9. Mercedes Benz C-Class: 24,676

10. Mini: 23.455

"It is still a great time to buy a new car in the UK, and it is encouraging to see more consumers choosing British models. This is important for the wider economy, with 799,000 people now employed across the UK automotive sector, including retail," said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

"We anticipate a flatter second half of the year, as the market finds its natural running rate."

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