SMMT: October sales up

Time 8:44 am, November 6, 2012

NEW car registrations were 12.1 per cent up in October, the latest figures from the SMMT reveal.

151,252  new cars were registered, five per cent UP year to date.

Highest performing car last month was the Ford Fiesta – achieving 8,056 units, followed by the Vauxhall Corsa with 6,285. Next was the Focus with 5,834, and the Astra at 5,754.

While promising, the figures are still not back up to pre-recession levels – but do at least appear strong in the face of weak European demand.

‘The UK continues to lead the way in European new car sales, with the main continent’s decline triggering unease in global automotive manufacturers,’ commented Deloitte’s David Raistrick.

‘On the one hand, a number of major UK dealer groups have reported strong sales growth in 2012, but their counterparts in Europe are witnessing a decline. This is particularly uncharacteristic in Germany, where a double digit contraction in September 2012 for new cars and a 2% reduction overall for the year will instigate some very serious dialogue in the boardroom.’

Small cars are becoming increasingly common, too. The ‘mini’ segment – housing cars like the Ford Ka and Fiat 500 – has grown 52 per cent year-to-date. Collectively, it and the ‘supermini’ segment represented 40 per cent of the market.

‘UK consumers continue to drive the market, with sales consistently growing,’ said Richard Lowe, Head of Retail & Wholesale at Barclays.

‘The latest GDP figures may further boost this confidence, but with the economic recovery likely to be a long and winding road, we may see private buyer appetite slowing as we head into 2013.’

Fleet sales, meanwhile, haven’t experienced quite the same boost. ‘Retail car sales continue to drive the market in October whilst fleet sales remain flat,’ said Sue Robinson, Director of the RMI National Franchised Dealers Association.

‘Retail customers are now committing to buying cars often helped by the competitive offers made available by the manufacturer. In particular, Personal Contract Purchase plans are helping to boost sales as they offer a low cost finance option to many consumers.

‘Smaller cars and AFVs continue to sell well indicating consumers are now looking for a more economically and environmentally friendly vehicle that offers better fuel economy and cheaper maintenance.’

SMMT Chief Executive Paul Everitt commented: ‘Despite uncertainty in the European economy, the UK new car market continues to grow, with registrations rising more than 12% in October to 151,252 units.’

‘It is encouraging to see the alternatively-fuelled vehicle market performing strongly, up 13% so far this year. Although the alternatively-fuelled vehicle sector represents only a small share of the overall market, it is vital that government sustains its consumer incentive programme and maximises the benefits available through the vehicle taxation system.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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