Diesel, fleet purchases support April car registrations figures
The April UK new car market fell by 7.4 per cent to 137,746 units, according to the latest figures issued by the SMMT. However, the market was 1.5 per cent ahead of forecast and said to be “on par with the 2010 market” if take the scrappage volumes out of consideration. Year-to-date, registrations over the first four months of 2011 were down 8.5 per cent to 696,082 units, leaving the SMMT’s full-year forecast unchanged at 1.93 million units.
Despite the tough market conditions, fleet demand reportedly remains robust, up 6.5 per cent in April, while diesel volumes also recorded strong growth. Diesel cars represented 52.7 per cent of the total market in April and have shown year-on-year growth in every month of 2011. The VW Golf was the best selling diesel in April. Alternatively fuelled car registrations rose by 48.1 per cent in April.
In addition private volumes have fallen in 2011, down by 19.6 per cent over the first four months of the year and by 23.5 per cent in April following the removal of the Scrappage Incentive Scheme. This means overall market volumes have been supported by growth in fleet and business demand.
The Ford Fiesta was the top selling car overall in the month and year-to-date. Registrations of small cars have generally fallen, again reflecting the impact of the scrappage scheme. Registrations of dual purpose and MPV segment cars were amongst those showing strong growth in the month.
“New car registrations in April demonstrated continued stability in the marketplace, with demand remaining lower than in 2010, although slightly ahead of industry expectations,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “The coming months will remain challenging, but we do expect to see a return to growth in the second half of the year.”
Sue Robinson, Director of the RMI National Franchised Dealers Association which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK and Northern Ireland, commented: “April market has performed relatively well during a period that has seen a lot of disruption with a number of factors slowing the market. There have been a number of bank holidays which resulted in slow showroom traffic, although when consumers visited they did tend to buy. There has also been a knock on affect on supply after the disaster in Japan and there are still signs of a lack of consumer confidence. That said the results show that despite the conditions people are still out there visiting showrooms and purchasing vehicles. We anticipate much greater improvement to the market at the back end of the year which we believe will continue into 2012 when the market will be much stronger.”