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Figures show rise in car sales

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The government's car scrappage scheme has helped boost new car sales in Britain, newly released figures are expected to show.

Experts hope that the figures will reveal a continuing recovery for the motor industry as new car sales rise.

They predict that new car registrations will have increased by around 10% in September compared to the same month a year ago.

After an increase of 6% in August and 2.4% in July, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said it expected the figures to show a third monthly rise.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced last week that the popular scrappage scheme would be extended from £300 million to £400 million.

Motorists taking part in the scheme receive a discount of £2,000 on cars over 10-years-old when they buy a new vehicle.

The SMMT welcomed the "extremely important decision" and said it would give customers the opportunity to buy a new car.

It also said the move would help tackle the expected negative impact of a return to the higher rate of VAT.

The July increase was the first year-on-year rise for 15 months, although sales for the first eight months of this year are still down 21.5% compared with January-August 2008.

Ahead of the official figures, Japanese car maker Mazda revealed it had sold over 11,300 models in the UK last month, the highest ever.

The September total of 11,372 sales was an increase of nearly 900 (over 8%) over the previous highest month in March 2008 when the marque achieved sales of 10,497 units. It is also the biggest single month for Mazda since the marque arrived in the UK in the 1960s.

© Press Association 2009