Thursday 8 October 2009

New car sales soar (UK)

UK car sales have risen again, with scrappage and soaring demand for 59-plate cars driving a dramatic increase in the number of registrations in September. July saw the first increase at 2.4%, August saw an increase of 6% and last month saw car sales rise by 11.4%.

Figures reveal that 367,929 new cars were registered in Britain last month. That's an 11.4% increase over the same period last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT says that scrappage-scheme buyers accounted for 77,000 car sales in September, but figures also revealed that sales to businesses and large fleets are still declining.

Hyundai and Kia continue to be the big winners with the scrappage scheme. Hyundai enjoyed its best ever month in September, selling 11,000 cars - 8,300 of them under the scheme. The company reports that it still has 10,000 orders for its i10 city car outstanding. The firm has sold over 40,000 vehicles but is constantly running out of stock. Sales have sky-rocketed by 69% compared to 2008. Kia registered 9,700 cars, with 5,130 of them qualifying for the scrappage rebate, and reports that demand for its Picanto remains strong.

Alfa Romeo, Seat and Nissan sales were up 148%, 38% & 30% respectively. Alfa sales soared due to the launch of the MiTo hatchback. Jeep, Mercedes and Audi sales plunged 15%, 14% & 8% year-on-year. The Fiesta has sold more than 50,000 units since it's launch in October 2008.

SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: 'Market conditions remain challenging, with demand being underpinned by the extremely successful scrappage incentive scheme.'

“The extension of the scheme will help to sustain demand through the latter part of this year and into 2010. This will allow economic recovery to strengthen and safeguard valuable industrial capability.”

The top 10 best-sellers in September:

1) Ford Fiesta – 22,635

2) Vauxhall Corsa – 16,379

3) Ford Focus – 13,622

4) Vauxhall Astra – 13,190

5) Volkswagen Golf – 11,787

6) Peugeot 207 – 9,161

7) Mini – 8,634

8) BMW 3 Series – 7,465

9) Toyota Yaris – 6,896

10) BMW 1 Series – 6,671

Worst performers in September:

1) Cadillac - 86.89%

2) Daihatsu - 73.63%

3) Saab - 50.00%

4) Lotus - 38.64%

5) Bentley - 35.29%

Mainland Europe sales also shoot-up -

France and Italy both saw sharp rises in year-on-year new car sales in September, but sales fell 15% year-on-year in Sweden where no scheme exists.

French sales were up 14.1% on last year’s levels. Carmakers' association CCFA said: “The scrapping scheme benefited all carmakers that have entry-level or compact models; this range now accounts for one in two car sales in France.” The French scrappage scheme will continue into 2011 as a gradual phase out to lessen the impact its withdrawal will have on the market.

Spanish sales were up 18% year-on-year in September, although September 2008 was a very poor month in the country for sales.

Germany also saw an increase in its new car sales in September, despite the end of its scrappage scheme. The VDIK association of foreign automakers said sales rose between 20 and 25% year-on-year last month. It also raised its forecast for the full year to 3.7 million units from its previous outlook of 3.45 million. In 2008, new registrations stood at 3.1 million.

Italian sales figures are expected to be announced. Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi has pledged to extend his country’s scrappage scheme beyond the end of the year should there be sufficient demand.

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