31% rise in new vehicle sales in February

There was a 31% rise in the number of new vehicles bought from dealers this February in comparison with the same time last year, figures show.

Members of the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) claimed 71.9% of the private new car registrations market in the year to February.

This was a rise on the 64.5% in the year to February 2012.

Also experiencing an increase was the consumer used car finance sector, which saw a 7% rise in comparison to last February.

Head of motor finance at the FLA, Paul Harrison, said that during February the finance market was robust and outperformed an increase in the registration of new cars.

He said this demonstrated how important point-of-sale credit is the the vehicle industry, employment and economy in the UK.

"The Government must make sure that its new regulatory regime for consumer credit maintains a competitive marketplace and supports the continued availability of affordable credit for customers," he said.

In the world of new cars, Ford announced upgraded models of its executive range of Mondeos, which includes new features for private and business buyers.

Retail buyers are being offered both visual and interior appeal by the new Ford Mondeo Graphite, which starts at £15,995.

After the Ford Mondeo Zetec Business Edition proved to be successful, even higher technology standards are being offered by the Titanium X Business Edition, along with improved interior luxury.

These aspects of the vehicle have helped to residual values to rise by five percentage points in comparison with the Mondeo Titanium X, even though the cost of the new model is £1,500 lower.

Ford Mondeos which have 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine, found in all series, apart from Titanium X Sport, have CO2 emission ratings which start at 119g/km across both 140PS and 163PS power outputs. This is a cut of about 10g/km, and the 163PS offers more power than the car maker's comparable rivals. The consumption of fuel is improved from 57.6mpg to 61.4mpg.

"This upgrade offers Ford Mondeo customers more features, at a more competitive price, as well as outstanding fuel economy," said Mark Ovenden, Ford Britain managing director. "This winning formula has always played a key role in Mondeo's success and these significant range enhancements will grow its popularity among UK families."

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