The SMMT has reported that UK new car sales in May were up 13.5% on the same month last year, but the trade body also warned that a decline in car sales is expected in the second half of this year.

The new car market posted growth from both fleet and private buyers in May, although this was against weak 2009 volumes. The SMMT said that a ‘modest decline’ in registrations is expected in the second half of the year, with wider economic recovery and supportive government policies being sought to sustain the market in coming months.

“May was another good month for the UK new car market, although we expect the coming months to be extremely challenging,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.  “It is essential that the upcoming emergency budget promotes consumer and business confidence to maintain economic recovery.”

David Raistrick, automotive partner at Deloitte, warned about a possible negative impact from a VAT increase: “Next month’s budget will determine whether the VAT rate will be increased, which could have a further negative impact on sales as buyers could face increased purchase prices. A VAT rate increase combined with potential price rises on imported vehicles due to the ongoing weakness of sterling, could lead to further difficult trading conditions in the short term.

“Both fleet and private sales are likely to stall over the next few months. Uncertainty in the public sector over spending cuts, combined with nervousness in the corporate sector will most likely lead to a further slowdown in fleet sales. From a private market perspective, the effects of the end of the scrappage boost are definitely being felt.

“On a more positive note, the budget may generate a rise in the strength of sterling and consumer confidence, thereby leading to a positive trading environment in time for the all important September new plate registrations.”

The Retail Motor Industry also highlighted the importance of the upcoming Budget on June 22.

“The importance for the remainder of the year will be consumer confidence, it is vital that in the forthcoming Budget on the 22 June that the chancellor recognises the importance of consumer spending to the economy,” said RMI Director, Sue Robinson

New cars registrations in May were up 13.5% to 153,095 units. Volumes over the first five months of the year have risen 22.0%. The growth reflects the weakness of the 2009 market, with May volumes still 14.6% or 26,177 units down on the 2008 level.

The final few scrappage registrations continue to feed the market, following the scheme’s closure to new orders in March. The Scrappage Incentive Scheme started on 18 May 2009 and since then has averaged 17% of monthly new car registrations. Almost all orders have now been delivered with only 2.7% of the May market coming through the scheme.

Ford’s Fiesta was knocked off the best selling model list for the first time this year, by the Ford Focus.

Growth in mini and supermini cars cooled in May, reflective of the rate of gain in previous months. Other segments posted recovery on weak 2009 levels.

The attached tables show the registration figures for Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands in detail. – Source www.smmt.co.uk

May

Total

Diesel

Petrol

AFV

Private

Fleet

Business

2010

153,095

71,840

79,551

1,704

71,975

74,786

6,334

2009

134,858

59,381

74,900

577

64,081

64,484

6,293

% change

13.5%

21.0%

6.2%

195.3%

12.3%

16.0%

0.7%

Mkt share ’10

 

46.9%

52.0%

1.1%

47.0%

48.8%

4.1%

Mkt share ’09

 

44.0%

55.5%

0.4%

47.5%

47.8%

4.7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year-to-date

Total

Diesel

Petrol

AFV

Private

Fleet

Business

2010

913,436

390,659

513,636

9,141

450,695

419,682

43,059

2009

748,691

330,416

413,466

4,809

342,037

365,167

41,487

% change

22.0%

18.2%

24.2%

90.1%

31.8%

14.9%

3.8%

Mkt share ’10

 

42.8%

56.2%

1.0%

49.3%

45.9%

4.7%

Mkt share ’09

 

44.1%

55.2%

0.6%

45.7%

48.8%

5.5%

The attached tables show the registration figures for Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands in detail. – Source www.smmt.co.uk

Top ten best sellers

May

 

Year-to-date

1

Focus

7,163

1

Fiesta

49,229

2

Astra

6,734

2

Focus

41,419

3

Fiesta

6,619

3

Astra

36,099

4

Corsa

5,950

4

Corsa

35,162

5

Golf

4,314

5

Golf

27,092

6

3 Series

3,732

6

Polo

22,561

7

Polo

3,721

7

207

20,346

8

MINI

3,445

8

Clio

17,454

9

Qashqai

3,359

9

MINI

17,341

10

A3

3,093

10

A3

16,436