New car sales down in November

  • Registrations for the month fall 4.2% on last year
  • Diesel and alternative fuelled cars take record share
  • Private registrations kept afloat by company car sales

Sales of new cars dropped year-on-year for the month of November, but overall registrations for the whole of 2011 are set to exceed expectations.

A total of 134,027 cars were registered during November compared to 139,875 for the same time last month, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

While sales figures for the month dropped, the SMMT is still predicting overall sales figures for this year will exceed the organisation's prediction of 1.923 million. The figure is expected to be closer to the 1.94 million mark.

The Ford Fiesta was the best-selling car in November, and continues to top the sales chart for the year with the Ford Focus a close second.

Many manufacturers showed drops in sales this month, compared to last year. Even companies such as Vauxhall and Ford recorded a fall in sales of around 8%. Things were good for Chrysler and SsangYong, however, with new models bumping up sales considerably. Chrysler sold 234 cars this November, compared to 35 last year, while SsangYong sales rose from nine to 72.

MG, however, with its newly-released MG6, was revealed to be struggling. It sold a total of seven cars. One small consolation may be that this was one more car than it managed to sell in November, last year. 

With the drop in sales, the SMMT is keen to point out that diesel and alternative-fuelled cars took record market shares for the month, and helped to lower the average efficiency of new cars.

Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “While the November new car market saw a 4.2% dip, the fuel efficiency of new models broke all records with the average new car achieving 52.5mpg.

“Despite the Chancellor delaying the 3p rise in fuel duty, our cost of fuel is still among the highest in Europe, so customers are sure to welcome the 29.3% improvement in new car fuel efficiency over the last 10 years, a demonstration of industry’s commitment to delivering good value to motorists.”

This increase has been helped with the on-going rise in company car sales, which continues to help keep sales figures looking more respectable. Private sales actually dropped 15.7%, while fleet registrations were up 7.5% for the year compared to November 2010.