New car sales grow by 1.4%

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New car sales grew by 1.4% in October compared with the same month last year, according to industry figures.

Some 180,168 cars were registered last month, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

Growth was driven by the fleet sector, which saw a 4.2% rise. Private registrations fell by 1.1%.

Some 2.33 million cars have been registered in 2016 so far, up 2.5% on the same period last year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: "September's number plate change is always a hard act to follow so the market's growth in October, albeit moderate, is welcome news.

"Low interest rates, affordable finance packages and a range of exciting new models helped attract buyers into showrooms and we now look to Government to ensure consumer and business confidence remains buoyant."

Petrol demand rose by 4.9% last month, while diesel registrations fell by 2.4%.

Alternatively-fuelled vehicles saw growth of 12.4%.

Year-on-year Volkswagen car sales halted a six-month slide after the diesel emissions scandal.

The brand had 14,023 registrations in October, up 0.4% on the same month in 2015.

It is the first time since March that monthly registrations were up compared with last year.

The manufacturer's year-to-date sales for 2016 are 9.9% down on the same point in 2015.

Volkswagen Group admitted in September 2015 that 482,000 of its diesel vehicles in the US were fitted with defeat device software to switch engines to a cleaner mode when they were being tested for emissions.

The Wolfsburg-based company announced that 11 million vehicles were affected worldwide - including almost 1.2 million in the UK.