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Citroen shows its strength in the south west

Regional focus: South west England

Citroen shows its strength

Private buyers dominate in the South West, a region defined by Polk as stretching from Land's End to Weymouth on the South Dorset coast and northwards to Bristol and Bath.

They account for 71% of all car buyers in the region, against a national average of 57%. Citroen, which traditionally has a strong presence in the retail market, consequently has a good showing (see table 1).

The carmaker is well represented in the area having the fifth lowest population per dealer. These two facts combine to give Citroen its above-average performance.

PSA group's other marque, Peugeot, also performs better in each category than it does nationally. It has 9% share of new car sales against 8% nationally and 8% of used car sales against 7% (see table 2).

Peugeot also does particularly well with motability sales with a 13% share against 9% nationally. This is despite having a higher population per dealer.

Ford, the UK's leader, also does well in the region with 18% of the market (table 1) - up 1.15% on its national figure - and the three top selling cars. Even the Ka gets into the regional top ten at No7 when it doesn't figure in the national top ten.

Vauxhall does not perform as well as its national standing would suggest with just 10% of the South West market against 13% nationally. The Vectra doesn't make it into the top 10 while the Astra is the fifth choice of local buyers but third nationally.

Renault Clio dominates the used car sales for cars less than one-year-old (table 5) and the Nissan Micra is the second most exchanged nearly new car in the South West, well above its national ranking of 5th.

Across all makes the buy rate locally is lower than the national average for new cars and higher than the national average for used cars. In fact for Vauxhall the buy rate is just under half the national figure.

Volkswagen dealers emerge with the best throughput (see table 9) but at 392 sales each, that is way below the national average of 542.

The national picture

A big increase in diesel sales among fleet buyers is evident with 57% of company buyers opting for oil burners.

While Ford is still dominant across all sectors, that supremacy has slipped. Rover's slide is also shown while the rise of Renault and Peugeot is marked.

Ford, Vauxhall and Rover account for well over half of vehicles that are nine and 10 years old - collectively these brands account for only 37% of sales of cars less than one year old and have only 35% of cars under one year old on the road.

Rover now has 8% of vehicles in operation (VIO) but only 5% of new car sales (NCS). Ford, with 17% of new car sales has 22% of the total car parc.

These changes are also reflected in the breakdown of sales by model. While Ford Focus and Fiesta were the two best selling new cars (table 4), the pattern changes with sub-one year old cars. In this category, Clio and Vectra are the top two (table 5) and Micra makes it into fifth spot despite not registering in the top ten of new car sales.

These volumes do not respond to the total VIO and point to dealers registering them and selling them on as 'nearly new' cars.

National Data

  • Ford has the densest dealer network with only just over 77,000 people per outlet; Vauxhall is next with 114,000.
  • Ford dealers sell only 517 cars per outlet against Fiat at 686; Vauxhall dealers sell 595 cars each.
  • The popularity of estate cars has slipped slightly from 15% of new car sales in 98/99 to 14%. Estates though have reinforced their position as the third most popular body style behind five and three door cars and ahead of traditional saloons.

    South West Data

  • Saloons are less popular in the South West, representing only 10% of new car sales compared to 14% nationally.
  • Estates are more popular" with 17% of new car sales compared to only 14% nationally.
  • Sales per dealer are notably lower than the national average for each of the top five brands.

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