New car sales down again


  • Ford Fiesta tops charts, VW Golf best-selling diesel in June
  • Retail sales down, but fleet market still buoyant
  • Diesels and small cars increase market share

Car industry chiefs remain positive despite UK new car sales figures that suggest a gloomy picture.

Latest new cars sales stats from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that the market fell 6.2% to 183,125 units, continuing the trend seen over the past 12 months.

Although it still represents a downward spiral industry chiefs still reckon that the market is still on their 2011 target to sell 1.93 million cars predicted at the beginning of the year.

The new car sales pie shows varying fortunes. The industry is still being propped up by strong fleet and diesel sales, while retail sales have been disappointing for 2011. Fleet sales were up 2.0% in June and by 3.4% over the first half of 2011.

Diesel sales rose by 4% in June and are up by 7.5% over the first six months of 2011 while sales of small cars led to an improved market share in June, up one percentage point to 36.7%.

Also, the effect of the scrappage scheme on new car sales in 2009 has skewed the year-on-year figures and motor manufacturers are confident that new car registrations will pick up in September when there is a plate change.

The figures show that, from a green perspective, the car industry is getting its house in order. Average new car CO2 emissions fell to a record low of 138.9g/km in quarter two, below 140g/km for the first time. Last year the figures stood at 144.2g/km and in 2000 it was at 181g/km.

Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive, said: "June new car registrations continued to perform in line with industry expectations with robust demand in the fleet sector and a relatively weak retail market. The balance of demand makes this a tough time for vehicle manufacturers and their dealer networks

"Slow, but steady economic growth in the second half of the year should see volumes increase, although the overall market is still expected to be around 1.93 million units."

New car registrations have fallen in each of the past 12 months: the year-to-date rate is down 7.1% for the first half of 2011.

Registrations in quarter two fell by 5.2%, the smallest drop in each of the past four quarters and the market in quarter two was 1.4%, or some 6,500 units above expectations.

The Ford Fiesta was the best selling model in June and over the year-to-date. The VW Golf was the best-selling diesel model over the first six months of 2011, but was pushed into second place in June by the Vauxhall Insignia.