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UK car sales hit 2m

New cars

Britons have bought more than 2m new cars so far this year, following an unexpectedly sharp jump in sales in October.

A total of 2.14m new cars have been registered in 2014 so far, the first time the two million mark has been passed in the month of October since 2007, before the financial crisis took hold.

It followed unwavering demand for new cars last month as consumers took advantage of cheap financing deals. Sales were 14.2% higher in October than a year earlier, at 179,714 vehicles, extending the longest-ever run of growth to 32 consecutive months, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Sales of diesel and petrol cars were up but alternatively fuelled vehicles saw the biggest increase, up 59% in October.

Mike Hawes, chief executive at the SMMT, said: “The October new car market outperformed expectations, with registrations showing the strongest growth in a month since March’s 18% rise. With economic confidence still rising, customers continue to benefit from attractive financial packages on exciting new models.

“We still expect the overall market to level off as we head towards 2015, but the exception to that rule will be alternatively-fuelled vehicles, demand for which will continue to accelerate.”

The Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, and Vauxhall Corsa were the top three bestselling models in October and the year so far.

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