The UK new car market declined -44.4 per cent in March, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 203,370 fewer cars were registered than in March 2019, as showrooms closed in line with government advice to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
February’s car registration figures were released as the SMMT calls on the Chancellor to use next week’s Budget to announce bold new measures to make new-tech zero emission-capable cars, including plug-in hybrids, more affordable for mass-market buyers. In 2020, manufacturers will bring more than 23 new battery-electric and ten plug-in hybrid electric cars to the UK to add to the more than 65 already on sale, but take-up of these new models depends on affordability and the provision of adequate charging infrastructure.
February is traditionally one of the quietest months of the year for new car registrations in the UK, coming as it does ahead of the March number plate change. It was even quieter this year – data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that last month’s sales were 2.9 per cent below those recorded in February 2019, with just 79,594 new cars registered in the UK during the month.
British car production fell -2.1 per cent in January 2020, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures reveal. As well as being the fifth consecutive month of decline, with 118,314 units produced, UK car production has now fallen in 19 of the last 20 months. The majority (82.7 per cent) of these cars were built for export worldwide.
The SMMT released its UK passenger car registration figures for January shortly after the government announced its ambition to end the sale of all vehicles with an internal combustion engine, including HEVs and PHEVs, by 2035. In response to the announcement, the SMMT calls for caution. It points out that hybrids and plug-in hybrids are zero-emission capable, and therefore views both as vehicles not only bringing “significant environmental benefits today,” but also an “important stepping stone in helping motorists make the switch to a zero-emission vehicle.”
As far as the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) is concerned, we can count Brexit as occurring from the start of this year – the association has already removed the UK from its passenger car registration figures for January 2020. Registrations for the slimmed-down EU27 region fell 7.5 per cent year-on-year, to 956,779 units. Registrations fell by a similar level on our side of the channel, with figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showing a 7.3 per cent decline in January, to 149,279 units.
The UK’s new heavy goods vehicle (HGV) market rose 12.6 per cent in 2019, with 48,535 units registered, however the market for new buses and coaches fell 18.8 per cent for a third consecutive a year and amounted to just 5,874 units.
As the February 2020 issue of Tyres & Accessories goes to press, the United Kingdom is officially leaving the European Union after three years of intense dispute and debate. At the same time, 2019 wasn’t a great year for the automotive and tyre industries (see page 36 onwards for further details of what has transpired during the last 12 months). And with a no-deal scenario presenting the possibility of import tariffs on and parts, 2020 doesn’t look like it is going to be a whole bunch better. However, while the disappointing performance of the car and tyre markets is linked to Brexit, the issues are not one and the same.
UK car production fell -14.2 per cent in 2019, to 1,303,135 units, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), with a -6.4 per cent drop in December rounding off a third year of decline. Output was affected by multiple factors, including weakened consumer and business confidence at home, slower demand in key overseas markets, a number of significant model production changes and a shift from diesel across Europe. Factory shutdowns in the spring and autumn, timed to mitigate expected disruption arising from the anticipated departure of the UK from the EU on 29 March and 31 October, also had a marked effect.
After securing the top spot in 2018, Grey cemented its position as the UK’s favourite new car colour again last year. According to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the number of grey cars registered in 2019 rose 5.3 per cent to 521,273. This means that 22.6 per cent of all new cars sold were painted grey, 1.6 per cent more than in the previous year.
UK new light commercial vehicle (LCV) registrations returned to growth in December, following three months of decline, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The market grew +7.8 per cent in December as the impact of regulatory changes eased and attractive offers on new models helped stimulate orders with only pickups experiencing a fall in demand.
The UK new car market declined in 2019, with annual registrations falling for the third consecutive year. According to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 2,311,140 units were registered in 2019, representing a -2.4 per cent decline. The market fell -6.8 per cent in 2018 and -5.7 per cent in 2017. This means the 2019 market is the lowest since 2013 when 2,264,737 were registered (see diagram). Representatives from industry associations and market analysts said the turbulent market reacted to weak business and consumer confidence, general political and economic instability and confusion over clean air zones.
UK commercial vehicle (CV) production increased 9.8 per cent in November, with 8,768 units manufactured, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Output for overseas markets was up 43.5 per cent, but production for the domestic market fell again, down 21.7 per cent as business confidence remained weak.