Manufacturers are making ‘tactical registrations’ to boost market share, new analysis has suggested.
Cox Automotive’s latest study says the sector is ‘undeniably’ returning to a ‘push’ market after years of short supply due to the Covid pandemic.
The firm said the UK is on course to hit 1.94m new car registrations by the end of the year.
For much of 2023, figures have been buoyed by strong fleet registrations.
Cox Automotive believes this is a sign that car manufacturers are returning to the fleet market to push through cars in an attempt to bolster market share.
Philip Nothard, Cox Automotive’s insight director, said: ‘The most recent SMMT figures give us even more confidence in their accuracy and, what’s more, chime with the widespread belief that the new car arena has returned to a “push” marketplace.
‘Our analysis tells us that tactical registrations, a relic of the industry’s past, are taking place on the part of OEMs.
‘That could help explain the increased percentage of reported fleet registrations, in addition to OEMs returning to the recently constrained fleet channel.
‘It is clear they are moving to resolve their market share.’
In the year ahead, Nothard said the market will see volume and market share ‘fluctuations’ as the sector adapts to more manufacturers switching to agency sales.
‘Both the new and used markets continue to face challenges, such as the cost-of-living crisis hindering demand,’ he said.
‘In 2024, the sector will witness a surge in OEMs transitioning to new agency or hybrid dealer networks across the UK and Europe. This shift may present volume and market share fluctuations, as adapting to new systems, processes and strategies takes time.
‘The new car numbers and our outlook for the coming years reaffirm that this industry is characterised by volume and is positive for the economy, as it will generate more jobs and income.
‘We foresee continued growth for 2024 albeit at a slower pace than in 2023. And we also believe the muted private demand for new EVs has to be tackled by more government incentives.
‘It remains to be seen whether the 2035 ICE deadline will continue to impact the sale of new EVs.’