SMMT: Car sales rise, despite low expectations

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 16, 2011

New car registrations across the UK rose for the second time in the past year during October, according to the latest statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The 2.6 per cent growth saw car dealers like Evans Halshaw taking more new car orders, as transactions were up by 3,449 units to 134,944 vehicles sold during the month. This development was a surprising one for the SMMT, which had predicted around seven per cent fewer units sold ahead of its statistical release for the month. Nonetheless, things continue to lack the positivity that the market recorded before the recession; volumes are still nearly 20 per cent off the level recorded in 2007.

October looks set to account for seven per cent of annual volumes, which is on par with the average pinned down between 1999 and 2010. Nonetheless, registrations in the last three months increased by just under one per cent versus 2010 figures, increasingly reversing a trend that is still down 1.5 per cent over the last six months. This "relative stability", as the SMMT puts it, follows a weak start to the year; registrations over the year-to-date are down by 4.5 per cent with 1,688,038 units sold. There has, however, been a notably sharp recovery in the small car market. According to the survey, the Supermini segment in particular was up by 17.4 per cent and the Mini segment rose by 4.7 per cent. The popularity of dual purpose cars also rose after a raft of new model launches.

In more unsurprising news, the Ford Fiesta was the best-selling model both for October and the year-to-date, while the VW Golf was the best-selling diesel model over the month. Sales of diesel and alternatively-fuelled cars - such as LPG models - remained stable, while sales of petrol cars have also experienced a pick-up. Paul Everitt, the chief executive of the SMMT, said: "October's new car market rose 2.6 per cent on last year – a positive result despite the uncertain economic climate. Vehicle manufacturers and their dealer networks are working hard to offer consumers value for money through improved fuel efficiency, low running costs and innovative finance. We expect market conditions to remain challenging and hope the chancellor's autumn statement later this month will help to boost economic growth and consumer confidence."

Topics: sales

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