Automotive data provider cap hpi expects new car registrations to reach record levels in March this year.

The company said that results from previous years showed March had become a ‘pivotal’ month, with James Dower, senior editor of black book at cap hpi, predicting record new car registrations in March 2017 as a result.

He said: “With a difference of just over 13,000 vehicles in 2012, the gap [with September’s registrations] has grown to nearly 50,000 last year, and all the signs are for a record March this year.”

Dower stated that the first quarter of the year had come to ‘dominate’ the sales cycle, with volumes rising from 605,198 in 2013 to 771,780 over the same period last year.

Passenger car registrations increased by 2.9% year on year in January 2017 to reach 174,564 vehicles, with growth mostly driven by private registrations , as fleet and business registrations remained largely static.

Dower said: “Within the overall registration volume there were some interesting performances with some manufacturers increasing both volume and market share against the same position last year.

“It is too early to draw any conclusions from one single month of data, but it will be fascinating to see how the year unfolds and how each manufacturer balances the volume aspirations against each sales channel.”