February sales are usually slow due to the 1 March half year identifier change private buyers, in particular, wait for

February sales are usually slow due to the 1 March half year identifier change private buyers, in particular, wait for

UK new car registrations continued the positive start to 2016 in February, growing 8.4% year on year to 83,395 units, according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) data.

This was the best February since 2004 and all the more remarkable as it was a 'pre plate change' month (half-year identifier changed to 16 on 1 March).

Demand was up across all fuel types, with diesel and petrol registrations growing by 5.6% and 10.7% respectively, while alternatively-fuelled vehicles enjoyed an uplift of 19.9%. Fleet demand dipped slightly compared with the private sector, but still retained its 53.1% majority share of new vehicles.

Year to date volume rose just 4.7%, however, to 241,814.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "February is typically one of the quietest months of the year, ahead of March's plate change, but this positive performance is encouraging and puts the sector in a good position for the coming 12 months."