LONDON, April 5 British new car sales rose by 8
percent in March, usually the top-selling month of the year,
compared with the same month last year, according to preliminary
data released by an industry body on Wednesday.
Around one in five of all car purchases are made in March as
it is only one of two occasions in the year when new licence
plates are issued.
Sales are also likely to have been boosted as some consumers
and businesses sought to avoid paying an increase in excise duty
which came into force from April 1 for the most polluting
Demand has continued to rise this year in Europe's
second-biggest autos market, despite forecasts that sales would
shrink by around 5 percent after two consecutive years of record
highs and as Brexit begins to take its toll on consumer
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is due to
publish its final figures at 0800 GMT.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Susan Thomas)