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Vauxhall springs surprise in heartland of MG Rover

Regional focus: West Midlands

Vauxhall springs surprise in heartland of MG Rover

This focus on the West Midlands provides more evidence of the rising influence of Peugeot, now firmly established as the UK's No3 new car seller – the position once held by Rover. Vauxhall, second only to Ford, does much better than nationally, despite having no plant in the region.

The West Midlands, home to assembly plants for MG Rover, Peugeot, Jaguar and Land Rover, still claims to be the powerhouse of UK industry. This survey covers West Midlands county – Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Five manufacturers dominate new car sales (table 1). Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot, Volkswagen and Rover take 57% of the market (50% nationally).

Peugeot accounts for 12.3% of new car sales against 8.1% nationally and Vauxhall's 14.6% of registrations compares with 11.4% nationally.

Peugeot's rising strength is shown through the successive car parc figures for each year. The proportion of Peugeots has dramatically increased recently to more than 11% for cars up to 12 months.

MG Rover has a 6.5% share of new car sales (4.3% nationally). The West Midlands has 6.5% of the population of Britain and Northern Ireland but 13.9% of the nation's Rovers are first registered there.

Rover has a 12.1% share of the West Midlands car parc yet only 7.6% of the national parc (table 3).

Its share of sales of cars between one and two years old are high at 8.3% (factory-run purchase schemes are one reason).

In fact, 11.2% of the nation's Rovers have been registered in the West Midlands.

Pre-registration or fleet discounting by Nissan dealers appears to be more prevalent here than it is nationally. Nissan's share of the under-one-year old car parc is 2.8% (3.8% nationally) but used car sales in the same age range are higher at 7.6% than the national level (6.7%).

Similar practices by local Renault dealers also appears to occur, as it does nationally.

Nissan Micra is the most traded sub one-year car locally and the Renault Clio nationally. The Micra drops completely out of the top 10 in the 1-2 year age group and the Clio is ninth.

Vauxhall's influence in the West Midlands is notably high in all three of its high volume models. Astra new-car sales penetration is up on the national figure, and both Corsa and Vectra are up by 1% on their performance nationally.

The proliferation of corporate vehicles in the region may be a contributory factor in the new car sales success of the Vectra and the 406.

The emphasis on company-owned vehicles in the West Midlands appears to be a long established one. The parc figures show there is almost twice the national level of company ownership at 20.9% against 10.8%, reinforcing the view that the region remains the UK's industrial powerhouse.

As Ford and Rover have lost ground, so Renault and Peugeot have risen – Renault has only 5.4% of the car parc, yet 6.8% of new car sales while Peugeot has 6.9% of the parc and 8.1% of new car sales.

Historically, Ford, Vauxhall and Rover account for well over half of the cars traded. Now, they have a 32.6% share of cars in use under one-year old and only a 26.8% share of less than one-year old used car transactions.

West Midlands' data

  • BMW ranks seventh for new car sales and tenth nationally.
  • In the 0-1 year-old car parc, Vauxhall is more than 1% ahead of Ford.
  • Peugeot 206 accounts for 5.2% of new car sales (3.6% nationally).
  • Rover privilege schemes may be responsible for Rover 400 being ranked seventh in the 1-2 year transactions.
  • There are more people per dealer than nationally, probably because of the high population density rather than low dealer density.

    National data

  • Estates are more popular than ever, taking 14.7% of new car sales as compared with 11.3% of estate vehicles in the national car parc.
  • 21% of new company registrations are diesel vehicles, compared to 11% of new private vehicles.
  • Recent popularity of silver is apparent in the new car listing. The dominant colour in the nation's car parc is, however, blue.
  • Volkswagen far exceeds the performance of its competitors in terms of new car sales per dealer (table 7). There is a significant gap between VW's retailer average of 618 units and its closest rival BMW's 477 units per dealer.

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    (Data for all tables relates to 2000 and is provided by Polk)

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