UK carmakers cut 40,000 new car sales from 2012 forecast image

Automakers in the United Kingdom are reducing their forecasts for next year by 40,000 new car sales because of the worsening financial situation.

UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) believes sales in 2012 will be flat, forecasting a volume of 1.92 million sales, the same as in 2011. The forecast was revised downwards compared to September, when the SMMT predicted 1.96 million units in 2012, accounting for an increase of 40,000 units over 2011.

“The figures are revised on a quarterly basis and we’ll be looking at them next in the new year. The best we can now hope for is that the market will be flat next year,” SMMT boss Paul Everitt was quoted by Autocar. The revised forecast was influenced by the eurozone crisis and the British government’s pessimistic autumn statement.

Everitt estimates fleet sales will remain flat and retail sales will not recover in 2012. “My optimism is that fleets will continue to take about 1.1m units, as they have in previous years, while retail sales will stay around 800,000,” Everitt said. However, UK car exporters should enjoy a good year, with the SMMT estimating an extra 50,000 to 100,000 cars to be shipped overseas in 2012, making up a total of 1.4-1.5 million units.