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Swindon’s motor manufacturers fail to keep pace with accelerated growth

Motor manufacturing enjoyed its best year since before the recession last year, but Swindon-based firms failed to accelerate as quickly as their rivals, new figures released this week show.

Sales of new cars in 2013 were up 10.8 percent on the previous year, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, with a total of 2.26m new vehicles sold.

The bumper year secured the UK’s status as the second largest car market behind Germany, and the only one to consistently grow throughout 2013.

But while Swindon’s two car manufacturers – Honda and BMW Mini – achieved higher sales, their increases were a long way behind the general industry trend.

Sales of Mini – which is produced by BMW from parts made at its Swindon pressings plant – climbed 1.19 percent to 51,933 new registrations, while Honda’s sales figures were up 2.68 percent at 55,660.

Ford’s perennially popular Fiesta topped the list, with its Focus in second place. Vauxhall’s Corsa claimed the third podium position.

All sales types recorded growth in 2013, although it was the private sector that saw the largest volume gain.

Increase in private registrations accounted for two-thirds of overall market growth. In 2013 private buyers accounted for 47.5 percent of the market, up from 45.5 percent in 2012.

“With its best year since a pre-recession 2007, the UK new car market has helped stimulate the country’s economic recovery,” said Mike Hawes,chief executive of SMMT.

“While the European market is only now showing signs of improvement, the UK has consistently outperformed the rest of Europe with 22 consecutive months of growth.

“The 10.8 percent increase in 2013 reflects the attractive financial offers available as well as increased demand for more technologically advanced new cars.

“We expect new car registrations to remain stable in 2014 as customers return to a more regular replacement cycle.”