2012 new car market hit four-year high
UK new car registrations rose 5.3 per cent in 2012 to 2,044,609 units, boosted by strong consumer demand. The latest data released by the SMMT on 7 January shows that annual the volume was highest since 2008 and recorded largest percentage increase since 2001. However, the new car market was still 14.9 per cent below the 2007 pre-recession level of 2.4 million units. According to the data, the market ended 2012 with a 3.7 per cent rise in December to 123,557 units.
“More than two million new cars were registered in the UK during 2012, up 5.3 per cent on the previous 12 months and the best result since recession struck in 2008,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “Boosted by strong consumer demand, the market grew at its fastest rate for 11 years with innovative, fuel-efficient cars keeping buyers in showrooms. Looking ahead to 2013, we anticipate the market will hold firm, with manufacturers and dealers working hard to deliver quality and value to motorists.”
Growth in 2012 stemmed from a 12.9 per cent, or 106,346 units, rise in private registrations. Regular replacement cycles, offers and incentives and some buyers shifting from buying used to new cars could have contributed to the upturn.
Demand was said to have been strong for Mini (+54.2%), Supermini (+5.6%) and Dual Purpose (+21.1%) segment cars in 2012. The Ford Fiesta was the best selling model of 2012, retaining the position held since 2009. And UK-built cars saw volumes rise 11.1 per cent in 2012, boosting their market share to 13.5 per cent.
Jaguar Land Rover is perhaps the clearest example of this kind of success. UK vehicle sales rose 19.7 per cent in 2012 in general and the Land Rover brand reported a record year in the UK, with sales up almost 25 per cent to 54,480 vehicles, boosted by the popular Range Rover Evoque. Registrations of the Jaguar brand increased 2.4 percent to 14,105 vehicles, despite “increasingly competitive market conditions”, the company said, helped by a 10 per cent rise in sales of the Jaguar XF saloon.
At the other end of the spectrum, there was also growth of the relatively new and non-British manufacturers. Kia Motors (UK) Limited, for example, set a new record sales total with 66,629 cars delivered to customers during 2012 – compared to 53,615 in 2011 – and is aiming to continue that performance by selling 70,000 units in 2013. This gave Kia a 3.26 per cent share of the UK new car market – up from 2.76 per cent in 2011.
Diesel cars took a record 50.8 per cent market share, just up on 2011’s 50.6 per cent. Meanwhile registrations of alternatively-fuelled cars rose 9.4 per cent in 2012 achieving 1.4 per cent market share, which is said to be a new high. Perhaps as a result of these two developments as well as technological developments in engine construction, average new car CO2 emissions fell to new low of 133.1g/km, 22.7 per cent down on a decade ago.