UK: November new car market down image

Registrations were down 11.5% versus a year ago, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT said new car registrations totalled 139,875 last month. It said the fall was smaller than expected, which may have been due to people bringing forward purchases to avoid the rise in value added tax in January. A rise in fleet sales also helped.

Diesel car volumes rose sharply to 53% in November, coupled with the slowdown in registrations of petrol cars which benefitted strongly from last year’s scrappage scheme. Registrations of alternatively fuelled cars jumped 83.5% in November to give them a 1.3% share of the November market and a 1.1% share over the year-to-date.

The Ford Fiesta was once again the best selling new car in the month.

Demand for supermini cars has weakened post the scrappage scheme, but volumes of dual purpose vehicles and MPVs continue to rise.

Registrations are also expected to fall in December, but earlier growth in the first half of the year should ensure a net gain of around 2% to some 2.03 million units. The market is forecast to fall by some 5% in 2011 to 1.93 million units, due to the impact of the austerity measures and notably the expected squeeze on consumer spending.