New Car Registrations Down 21.2%
New car registrations fell 21.2 per cent in September to 330,295 units. According to SMMT data, year-to-date volume is down 7.5 per cent to 1,794,419 units. Once again diesel market share increased (this time to 42.8 per cent of the market), but overall volume in this segment fell 15.4 per cent to 141,306 units in September.
There is also increased evidence that, based on rapid changes in registration profile, the tyre market of the years to come could be smaller than observers may have predicted last year. Smaller, that is, in terms of dimensions. For various reasons for the last couple of years drivers in the volume car market have been opting for smaller models, which drive on smaller tyres. Two years ago (in September 2006) was the first time the Ford Focus was knocked off the top slot in the SMMT’s registrations data by the smaller Fiesta model. By September 2008 the Focus had been relegated to fourth place in the monthly data, beaten by Vauxhall’s Corsa, the Ford Fiesta and the Vauxhall Astra.
According to the data from the main western European markets, new car registrations were down 11 per cent year-on-year. Deutsche Bank analysts report that, a country by country basis, France (+8%) posted the only growth in registrations while Germany appeared to be weathering the storm (-2%) and Italy improved somewhat (-6%). However, in addition to the UK’s woeful month, Spain faired even worse (-31%). Year-to-date, France (+3%) and Germany (+1%) were the only positives.