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SMMT cuts year total prediction

The SMMT has cut its forecast for new car registrations this year by 40,000 units after October figures revealed the continuing downward trend in the market.

Last month showed a 2.6% increase but it was not enough to prevent the year-to-date registrations slipping behind last year's running total. In the January to October period, the market is down 0.93% and the SMMT is now predicting 2.18m units for the full 12 months.

The prediction reflects recent profit warnings from major dealer groups and the retail view that customers are now waiting until January before buying.

Retail sales were up by 14% in October but this has to be viewed against last year's dip. Then, the 'rip-off Britain' campaign was at its height and the Consumers' Association dominated news broadcasts.

Dealers say sales in October started strongly, due to pent up demand and delivery problems in September. The figures were 16% up at one stage. But there was no sign of the last minute surge of pre-registrations and the month ended quietly.

##Macgowan(2)--right##The biggest selling car last month was the Ford Focus (9,013 units), followed by the Vauxhall Astra (6,884) and Renault Clio (6,492).

Christopher Macgowan, SMMT chief executive (pictured right), said: “There are a host of new products available to consumers and research by MORI from the recent British International Motor Show has revealed that nearly half of visitors intend to buy a new car over the next 12 months.” {*SMMT Oct*}

{*Oct registrations*}

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