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Jan. 29, 2014: Vehicle sales could see double-digit rise in 2014 Industry leaders forecast growing consumer confidence Auto sector optimistic as recovery continues Watch the influencers deliver their verdicts at Vehicle Sales

Leaders of the UK automotive industry have predicted strong growth for the year ahead – some as high as 10 per cent – in an interview with trade title Car Dealer Magazine.

Industry bosses including Ken Ramirez, managing director of Renault Group UK, and Trevor Finn, CEO of Pendragon – the UK’s biggest car retailer – were asked their opinions in an exclusive gathering at the RAC Club in London.

Last year, new car registrations bounced back to pre-recession levels with 2.26m units chalked up by car manufacturers in the UK.

And the overwhelming consensus was that continued economic growth will fuel a surge in vehicle sales during 2014, with some predicting the growth could hit double digits.

Ken Ramirez, managing director of Renault Group UK, said: ‘We see the pace in volume being very similar in 2014 with up to 10 per cent growth versus 2013.

‘But the mix of sales will be different and retail will be stronger.’

Jon Wellsman, aftersales director for Ford – the UK’s biggest selling car manufacturer last year with 310,856 new cars shifted – believes many buyers who’ve put off shelling out will do so in 2014.

He said: ‘Now customers are feeling a little bit more confident about the economy and the recovery, we will see more coming into showrooms and replacing their vehicles, some of which are actually getting quite old now as they’ve postponed purchasing decisions. I think they’ll take that decision to buy this year.’

And car retailers shared the manufacturers’ optimism.

Trevor Finn, CEO of car dealer group Pendragon, said: ‘In my mind there is no question the car market will grow. While the southern European markets remain under pressure then the UK will take some of that capacity and the cars will find a way into the market. There’s no reason why we won’t see some growth again.’

While some car manufacturer bosses speaking to Car Dealer weren’t quite as bullish, none of the 11 said they thought sales in 2014 would fall.

‘The economy is on a growth spurt at the moment,’ said Tony Whitehorn, president and CEO of Hyundai UK. ‘That’s great for consumers and some of that will translate into the car industry.

‘I do think sales will be up a little bit – not massively like we had in 2013 – but 2014 looks to be quite a good year.’

Executives from Peugeot, BMW, Nissan, Kia, Toyota and Mitsubishi also gave their opinions exclusively to Car Dealer Magazine and they can be seen in the video.