Thursday 9 October 2008

September sales figures down by -21% (UK)

Iceland became the latest country to be affected by the credit crunch and the British government has bailed out banks in the UK with a cash injection of £500bn. This has cut interest rates here, which means this months car sales shouldn't be so bad. The U.S government has also bailed out banks with $700bn, so car sales over there are starting to recover slightly but a recession is expected in 2009.

September car sales in the UK have been the worst in 40 years. The only sector to show improved sales was the city-car category, highlighting a shift away from large vehicles. However, there were still marked declines in car sales throughout all other segments.

Premium brands were among the hardest hit, with Aston Martin suffering a 67% drop to just 19 cars sold. Land Rover suffered a 58% fall in sales to 422 cars and Jaguar a 41% slump to 422 cars.

Industry experts described the sales figures as 'dreadful' and gave warning that they would impact on car building in Britain. Already Toyota and Land Rover have announced production cutbacks because of falls in orders. The British Car Auctions (BCA) Used Car Market Report also revealed that used car prices dropped dramatically.

Estimates for the first half of 2008 suggest that the average value of a used car bought at auction has fallen by more than £1000 to £4765.

Fiat sold 3,624 500s last month, boosting an 2.97% rise, despite the year-on-year decrease of 10%. The 500 took over one third of the firm’s total sales of 9,818 for the month. Mazda sales dipped by only 1.6% with the new facelift Mazda5 being the most popular model. The hardest hit manufacturer was Chrysler, with sales across the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands dropping by 56.3%. Renault endured an even worse month, dropping 50.8% compared to the same month last year – a fall of over 10,000 units.

Indeed, the combined French decline of over 21,000 units in a single month accounted for 23.7% of the total sales fall. At last week’s Paris Show, Renault boss Carlos Ghosn said that these were the worst conditions since 1929 – and these figures confirm his view.

Both Alfa Romeo and Saab are both down by more than 40%, despite having economical diesel models to choose from. In terms of overall sales, Ford was the biggest loser. Its percentage fall of 23.04% is relatively good against the rest of the market, but the company’s leading status in the UK market means that equates to 13,400 fewer vehicles being sold this September compared to last year.

Amidst the gloom, bright spots are few and far between. Only three manufacturers showed a September sales improvement year-on-year. Audi will be delighted to have increased sales by 1.38%, thanks to the launch of the facelift A3, while rivals, BMW and Mercedes fell by 24.11% and 9.15% respectively.

Jaguar’s year-on-year increase of 3.38% proves just how popular the new XF has been, while demand for city cars has boosted Smart’s numbers, the brand recording a 9.26% increase. The diesel engine should boost sales further. Oddly enough, UK Hummer sales grew a massive 25%.

Analysts predict that the UK car market won't recover until the third quarter of 2009. Until then, manufactures are relying on the Russian market to compensate for dismal sales across Europe.

Top five losers of September 2008:

Chrysler -56.3%

Renault -50.8%

Land Rover -49.7%

Saab -46.2%

Alfa Romeo -44.0%

Top five winners of September 2008:

Smart +9.3%

Jaguar +3.4%

Audi + 1.4%

Mazda -1.6%

Kia -4.9%

Year-on-year sales (Sept 08 vs 07):

Alfa Romeo sales - 44%

Aston Martin -15 %

Bentley -48 %

BMW -24%

Cadillac -62%

Chevrolet -11%

Chrsyler -69%

Citroen -22%

Corvette -50%

Daihatsu -18%

Dodge -19%

Fiat -10%

Ford -23%

Honda -40%

Hyundai -10%

Jeep -61%

Kia -5%

Land Rover -50%

Lexus -44%

Lotus -19%

Mazda -2%

Mercedes-Benz -9%

Mini -19%

Mitsubishi -33%

Nissan -15%

Peugeot -28%

Porsche -33%

Renault -51%

Saab -47%

Seat -41%

Skoda -15%

Ssangyong -57%

Subaru -40%

Suzuki -19%

Toyota -10%

Vauxhall -17%

Volvo -6%

VW -11%

Year-on-year sales (Sept 08 vs 07):

Audi +1%

Hummer +25%

Jaguar +4%

Smart +9%

Car segment sale changes year-on-year:

City car +17.01%

Supermini -22.51%

Small family car -22.72%

Large family car -19.19%

Compact executive -18.27%

Executive -19.51%

Luxury -42.79%

Sports -18.29%

Off road -40.98%

MPV -17.97%

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