NEW CAR MARKET BETTERS FORECAST BUT WAS DOWN 4.4% IN 2011 TO 1.94 MILLION

NEWS RELEASE NUMBER: 4973 FOR RELEASE: IMMEDIATE

  • New car demand totalled 1,941,253 units in 2011, down 4.4% on 2010, but ahead of the 1.92 million forecast.
  • Registrations in December fell by 3.7% to 119,188 units and the market was down 1.8% in quarter four.
  • Diesel and alternatively fuelled cars both took record market shares over the year.
  • Average new car CO2 emissions fell to a new low of 138.1g/km in 2011, down 4.2% on the 2010 level.
  • The market is forecast to be broadly stable in 2012, with firmer recovery expected in 2013.

“2011 proved to be a challenging year for the UK motor industry. Total new car registrations were slightly ahead of industry expectations at 1.94 million units, still down 4.4% on 2010,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “Weak economic growth will make trading conditions tough in 2012, but record numbers of new and updated models, significantly improved fuel efficiency and exciting new technologies will help to encourage consumers into showrooms. Business and consumer confidence will be the key to a successful year, so it will be important that government delivers on its growth strategy and helps to resolve instability in the Euro Zone.”

SIS refers to the Scrappage Incentive Scheme

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is one of the largest and most influential trade associations in the UK. It supports the interests of the UK automotive industry at home and abroad, promoting a united position to government, stakeholders and the media. The automotive industry is a vital part of the UK economy accounting for £49 billion turnover and £10 billion value added. With over 700,000 jobs dependent on the industry, it accounts for more than 10% of total UK exports and invests £1.3 billion each year in automotive R&D. For more details, see SMMT’s 12th Annual Sustainability Report and Motor Industry Facts at www.smmt.co.uk/publications.

Note: 2004 comparison data is shown in these charts, as average age of all cars in use is seven years.

DecemberTotalDieselPetrolAFVPrivateFleetBusiness
2011119,18860,57056,7631,85545,30067,1616,727
2010123,81762,50759,9181,39252,08364,0037,731
% change-3.7%-3.1%-5.3%33.3%-13.0%4.9%-13.0%
Mkt share '1150.8%47.6%1.6%38.0%56.3%5.6%
Mkt share '1050.5%48.4%1.1%42.1%51.7%6.2%
Year-to-dateTotalDieselPetrolAFVPrivateFleetBusiness
20111,941,253981,594934,20325,456823,0941,019,12699,033
20102,030,846936,4061,071,57522,865958,005973,23399,608
% change-4.4%4.8%-12.8%11.3%-14.1%4.7%-0.6%
Mkt share '1150.6%48.1%1.3%42.4%52.5%5.1%
Mkt share '1046.1%52.8%1.1%47.2%47.9%4.9%
Best sellersDecemberYear-to-date
1Fiesta5,4111Fiesta96,112
2Corsa5,2582Focus81,832
3Astra4,8563Corsa77,751
4Focus4,0474Golf63,368
5Golf4,0315Astra62,575
6Polo2,7426Insignia46,324
7MINI2,7067Polo45,992
8Qashqai2,58083 Series42,471
9Insignia2,4949Qashqai39,406
10I102,41110MINI35,845

Market edges down in 2011, after more stable second half. Hope for stability in 2012 against difficult setting.

  • New car registrations fell by 89,593 units in 2011 to 1,941,253 units. The 4.4% decline over 2010 followed a weak start to the year, with volumes set against Scrappage aided markets till mid year. In the second half of 2011 the market was down just 1.1% on a year ago.
  • Registrations in December fell 3.7%, the 10th monthly decline in the year, but volumes were again just ahead of SMMT’s forecast.
  • The full year market was some 18,000 units or 0.9% ahead of SMMT’s forecast for 2011, as set in September. At that time the new car market in 2012 was expected to hold at 1.964 million units and grow to 2.047 million units in 2013. Since those forecasts were made independent forecasts for the UK economy have been downgraded, with concerns in particular over the Euro Zone crisis and consumer confidence.
  • Registrations in 2011 were supported by fleet sales, with the private market recording a drop in volumes.
  • Diesel and alternatively-fuelled cars both took record shares of the market in 2011, with diesel volumes surpassing petrol volumes for the first time.
  • Vehicle manufacturers have delivered more efficient and lower CO2 emitting vehicles to the market which helped see average new car CO2 emissions fall to a new low of 138.1g/km, 4.2% down on the 2010 level of 144.2g/km and 23.7% below the 2000 figure of 181.0g/km.
  • The Ford Fiesta was the best selling new car in 2011, with the VW Golf the best selling diesel model. The Supermini segment remains the largest in the UK, with a market share almost unchanged on 2010 at 36.3%. The Executive, Luxury Saloon and Dual Purpose segments all recorded growth in registrations in 2011.

The attached tables show the registration figures for Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands in detail. Providing that www.smmt.co.uk is acknowledged as the source of this information, the figures may be quoted for editorial use only. Substantial reproduction needs specific approval by SMMT. January 2012 new car registration figures will be released on 6 February 2012 at 09:00.

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