UK Car Registration Grew 1.8% in 2010
The UK car market reported full-year growth at the end of 2010, but with registrations down nearly a fifth in the last weeks of the year analysts are predicting a 5 per cent decline in 2011. The latest UK automotive registration figures issued by the SMTT show that the market grew by 35,847 units to 2,030,846 units in 2010 ending 1.8 per cent up on 2009 figures. However, with registrations falling 18 per cent in December (123,817 units for the month), the SMMT predicts registrations will decline 5 per cent in 2011 to 1.93 million units due to continuing tough market conditions. Put into long-term context, 2010’s registration figure is the second lowest in the past decade and almost 375,000 units short of the 2007 levels.
While the full-year figures tell a tale of modest growth, volumes were actually up 19.9 per cent in the first half of the year, but fell 13.8 per cent in the second half when the scrappage scheme came to an end in March. According to the SMMT, over 100,000 cars were registered through the scheme in 2010, around 5 per cent of the total market.
The company car part of the market was one area of consistent growth last year. During 2010 the fleet market rose by over 10 per cent in 2010, but private volumes are said to have slipped following the end of the Scrappage Incentive Scheme (SIS). Unlike the wider market business demand rose off the back of a 42.8 per cent rise in demand in December. Looking forward fleet volumes are expected to sustain the market in 2011 in contrast to falling consumer demand.
Diesel penetration also rose to a record 46.1 per cent at least partly due to the growth in sales of MPV and dual purpose (SUV) vehicles, which commonly run on diesel.
The Ford Fiesta was the best selling new car for a second successive year in 2010 and Ford was again the bestselling brand, whilst in December Vauxhall was the top brand and the Astra was the best selling model.
“Economic conditions remain extremely challenging, but industry expects demand to strengthen in the second half of the year. Competition in the retail sector will intensify as the industry seeks to re-balance demand across its new and used car and service and repair business. UK motor manufacturing recovered particularly well in 2010 and the outlook is for further steady growth this year,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.