A further fall in private demand led to an overall fall of 7.9% in November's UK new car market to 158,474 units.

November registrations were 13,620 units short of the 2004 result. It was also 8,693 units, or 5.1%, off the average for the month over the 1999-2004 period.

As expected by the industry, volumes have fallen in every month of 2005 and the market, off 5.8% to 2,282,851 by the end of November, looks set to fall by just over 5% for the full year.

Still, it's not that long since the 'two million mark' was the nut the industry hoped to crack - today, exceeding that annual total has become routine.

The private market fell by 15.8% to 64,450 units in November, the sharpest fall since February. Mounting pressures on personal expenditure, especially in terms of fuel costs, increased energy bills and interest rates, have seen consumers rein in their spending, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The overall market has fallen by 140,065 units over the first 11 months of the year. Private volumes represent 86.6% of this shortfall.

Large fleet volumes slipped 2.5% in November to 84,717 units, but business demand rose further.

The UK new car market will remain the second largest in Europe in 2005, but will dip below 2.5 million units for the first time since 2000. The full year total will be the fifth largest annual UK market ever, albeit the lowest since 2000.

UK-built cars recorded a 14.5% fall in November, with year-to-date volumes down 10.6%. The loss of MG Rover volumes remains key, representing 25.8% of the overall shortfall in November and 31.5% over the year-to-date.

Supermini and lower medium volumes have dipped 5% over the year-to-date but at 1.4m units, they still represent 61.7% of the market - up from 61.2% a year ago. Nine of the 10 best sellers over the year-to-date are from these two segments.

Ford's Focus remained the UK's best seller in November, although Vauxhall's Astra was a close second. Lower medium cars showed the best year-to-date growth, up 4.3%.

Diesels set new record

The diesel market achieved a new record market penetration of 42.2% in November. The year-to-date and 12 month rolling totals now stand at 36.1 and 36.0% respectively - both a little above forecast. The diesel car market has increased by 39,363 units to 824,474 over the year-to-date.

The Ford Focus was the best selling diesel model for the fifth successive month in November and is now top seller over the year.

Over the year-to-date the diesel market has risen 5%, led by a 7.9% rise from company buyers. Diesel volumes in the private sector dipped by 0.2% over the same period.

Companies account for two out of every three diesels registered in the UK. Company diesel cars now account for almost one in four of all new registrations in the UK.

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