SMMT admits getting figures wrong over used car sales fall

Time 4 years ago

THE SMMT has been left with egg on its face after getting its figures wrong about used car sales.

It said last Wednesday that sales of second-hand cars had plummeted by 13.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2017. However, the industry body has been forced to issue revised details after ‘an issue with the algorithms’ came to light following its original analysis of data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

After recalculating the figures, it now says sales only fell by 0.7 per cent. Sales of used cars for the first half of this year actually went up by 1.3 per cent.

Its original statement had led to predictions of a recession, with chief executive Mike Hawes saying it was ‘vital’ for the government to secure ‘the conditions that will maintain consumer and business confidence if we are to see both markets [new and used] continue to prosper.’

Following the statistical U-turn, an SMMT spokesman told The Times today: ‘There was a problem with the system, an issue with the algorithms.’

Things are also looking rosier on the manufacturing front. After reporting that UK output fell by 14 per cent in June, leading Hawes to predict that the industry would be unable to meet a forecast figure of two million cars a year by 2020, the SMMT says July saw production rise by eight per cent, with Hawes commenting that ‘production lines stepped up a gear’.

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