UK new car registration slows

Fiesta160aThere was good news and some not quite so good news for the UK’s automotive industry today as the latest data showed new car registrations hitting 157,314 in October, an increase of 4.0%. It was, however, the first time since February that growth has failed to hit double figures.

Registrations for 2013 to-date climbed 10.2% to almost two million units, causing the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) to raise its 2013 forecast for new cars from 2.22 million to 2.25 million units with the market set to stabilise and grow at around 1% in 2014 and 2015.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said: “With October new car registrations up we have now seen 20 consecutive months of growth. These sustained rises have been driven by robust private demand, a trend that has given us the confidence to raise our year-end forecast to 2.25 million units – 10% ahead of last year. Looking ahead, we anticipate more moderate growth as the market stabilises.”

David Raistrick, UK Automotive Leader at Deloitte said that new car sales had been climbing back towards the levels achieved at the height of 2007 as cheap finance was readily available, but questions about the sustainability of this growth rate remained.

Looking behind the figures, Raistrick said that last month’s  release of UK automotive production numbers showed an increase of nearly 10% when compared against September 2012.  He explained: “Growth in the export of luxury brands to Russia and China is fuelling the desire to increase production levels within the UK whilst the majority of the top 10 sellers in the UK market continue to be sourced from factories outside of the UK. While the European market is showing signs of recovery, these are still early days and the UK will continue to be a key market for manufacturers, as it currently accounts for one in five of new cars sold in Europe.”

The Ford Fiesta (pictured), with 8,574 units sold in October and 104,621 during the year to date remained the best seller by a considerable margin.

Copyright Ken Hurst 2013

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About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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