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Manufacturers accused of 'massaging' preregistration figures

The number of preregistrations by manufacturers in November increased dramatically on the previous month amid accusations that car makers are abusing the new law demanding greater openess in the new car market.

Figures released by the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that 339 cars, defined as preregistrations, were disposed of in November. In October the number was 39.

The Supply of New Cars Order 2000 requires motor manufacturers to publish the number of preregistered cars supplied and gross income suppliers get from selling these vehicles. This information is published monthly.

Glass's Guide suggested the latest figures had been 'massaged'. A spokesman said: "It is rumoured that self-registrations are occuring well in excess of the SMMT's monthly published figures.

"It would appear that some manufacturers have registered more cars for their own use on their management and press fleets. "There have also been instances of new car sales, where the supplier has accepted the return of unwanted cars by prior arrangement.

"Whilst these practices do not contravene the DTI order they are certainly not in the spirit of the law."

Of the 339 preregistrations in November, Ford has the largest majority, at 202. Responding to Glass's suggestion, a spokesman said: "We don't agree. We were never involved in the mass preregistrations alleged in the past and our high number for November is due to the launch of the new Mondeo and the need for all our dealers to have demonstrators."

Ford leads the preregistrations for November, followed by Renault with 54, Suzuki 35, Toyota 32, Citroen 7, Peugeot and Vauxhall with 3, Hyundai 2 and Nissan one. Total gross revenue from the disposal of November's figure is £2,467,471.15.

In October, Vauxhall had the highest number of preregistrations with 27, followed by Renault with 15, Fiat 9, Ford 7, Nissan 6, Citroen 5 and Toyota 2.

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