RAC Cars News


13 Plate Change Turns Out To Be Lucky For Some

By raccars Published

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After dire predictions that superstitious motorists would be deterred from buying new cars this year, to avoid an 'unlucky' 13 number plate, there is surprisingly good news from the motor industry this month.

Since '13' plates were released at the beginning of March this year, new car sales have increased by 5.9% on the same month last year, with 394,000 brand new cars bought. With £6 billion spent, auto traders already suffering from worldwide financial instability will be heaving sighs of relief at this month's success.

The small cars sector was March's biggest winner, with perennial favourite, the Ford Fiesta, outselling the competition to the tune of 22,748 units shifted. This was closely followed by the Vauxhall Corsa, with sales of 16,169 units, then the Ford Focus at 15,434 sales. The top ten was completed by the VW Golf, Vauxhall Astra, Nissan Qashqai, VW Polo, BMW 1 Series, Peugeot 208 and the Mercedes C-Class.

The Nissan Qashqai makes an appearance on this list and overall new sales as Britain's most popular SUV crossover, particularly impressive given that the car has been on the market for six years already. Meanwhile, the Mercedes C-Class was March's 10th most popular new car and 9th most popular this year to date, making it Britain's favourite vehicle from the executive class.

Recent increases in the price of diesel mean petrol cars were favoured by new buyers, outselling diesel by 202,249 units to 187,239. The remaining sales came from electric and hybrid models.

The new figures continue a trend that has seen new car registrations rise during the first three months of this year, marking 13 consecutive months of growth, with 605,198 sales, compared with 563,556 in the same period last year. However, March's figures have come as somewhat of a surprise because research conducted prior to the release of the new '13' number plates, had suggested that 10% of motorists would refrain from buying cars displaying the supposedly unlucky number on the registration plate.

The national manufacturing industry's optimism has been boosted by the fact that one in six of the new cars sold during March was built in Britain, notably at major plants such as Cowley in Oxford, home of the BMW Mini, Sunderland for the Nissan Qashqai, Ellesmere Port for Vauxhall Corsas, Derbyshire for Toyotas and Swindon for Hondas.

Also encouraging is the fact that the private sector is largely responsible for the motor industry's continuing success, with an 11.2% rise in private buyers for the first quarter of this year.

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