New car sales in March were up 5.9% compared with the same month a year ago, according to the latest car registration figures form the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

They show fleet registrations increased by 3.7% last month while private registrations increased by 7.8%.

Sue Robinson, director of the RMI National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, commented: “It is positive that new car sales were up in March as retail demand continues to grow.

“Dealers reported strong interest in new cars by consumers who were encouraged into the showroom by strong manufacturer deals and competitive finance offers.

“Although consumer confidence remains sluggish there are signs that it is starting to grow. The NFDA is hopeful that this is a trend that will continue through 2013.”