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Car sales rise for record 27th time
Another rise last month has taken UK car sales to their longest-ever period of growth.
A total of 194,032 new cars were registered in May - a 7.7% rise on the May 2013 figure, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
The increase last month was the 27th consecutive monthly rise - beating the previous record of 26 months of growth between May 1987 and June 1989.
Sales for 2014 so far have reached 1,058,974 - an 11.6% rise on the January-May 2013 total.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "The new car market has now grown in every month since March 2012 - the longest period of growth on record and a reflection of the UK's ever-improving economic conditions.
"Over the past 27 months, increasingly-confident consumers have been drawn to some fantastic new products, attracted by innovative technologies, improved fuel economy and competitive deals helping make a new car more affordable.
"With SMMT forecasting an overall rise of around 6% over the year, the coming months should see some levelling off in growth rates as underlying demand stabilises."
SMMT records go back to 1959. They show that after the current 27-month and the previous 26-month record periods of growth, the next-best was a 21-month run between August 1962 and April 1964.
There was a 20-month period of growth between October 2000 and May 2002 and a 15-month run between October 1982 and December 1983.
The SMMT also said today that the number of cars registered with alloy wheels rose from 65.% in 2004 to 87.1% in 2013, while the number fitted with air conditioning as standard increased from 75.3% in 2004 to 95.4% in 2013.
These were the best-selling models in May 2014:
1. Ford Fiesta
2. Volkswagen Golf
3. Vauxhall Corsa
4. Ford Focus
5. Vauxhall Astra
6. Nissan Qashqai
7. Audi A3
8. Volkswagen Polo
9. Fiat 500
10. Vauxhall Mokka