Auto market remains challenging

Posted on 7 Jan 2011 by The Manufacturer

Total registrations of new cars was up by 1.8% in 2010 to just over two million vehicles, although the total remains the second lowest in the last decade, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed that registrations were up by 19.9% in the first half of 2010, but fell by 13.8% in the second half, after the scrappage scheme ended in March.

This led private registrations to fall by 5.6% year-on-year, but a 10.3% rise in fleet sales provided compensation.

December’s registrations were an indicator of the gravity of the situation. Total registrations fell by 18 per cent – underperforming analyst expectations – with private registrations down 37.5%.

And the prospects look grim for 2011. The downward trajectory is expected to continue in the first half of the year and in the improvement in the second half won’t be enough to prevent a 5% fall in total registrations.

Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive, said; “Economic conditions remain extremely challenging,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive, “but industry expects demand to strengthen in the second half of the year. Competition in the retail sector will intensify as the industry seeks to re-balance demand across its new and used car and service and repair business.”

The Ford Fiesta was the top selling model in the UK in 2010 with 103,000 units, beating its nearest rival, the Vauxhall Astra, by more than 20%.