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November car sales down 6.8 per cent

The SMMT and RMI are agreed that the UK motor industry is still on target to meet the forecast record 2.5m plus car sales for 2002. This is despite the release of November car registration figures today which show that total sales were down 6.8 per cent at 171,674 units.

The November figures reflect the 25.2 per cent hike in private demand in the same month last year, but both the SMMT and RMI point to the bigger picture: Year-to-date figures are still 3.7 per cent up on last year.

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan says: “Sales have cooled a little over the last couple of months in line with industry expectations. However, more new cars have been sold over the first 11 months of 2002 than are normally sold in an entire year.”

The main victims of the November sales downturn were Renault and Peugeot – registrations down 21.7 and 18.7 per cent respectively. But market leader Ford also took a hammering, with the Blue Oval's 25,388 November registrations representing a 10 per cent drop on last year. Vauxhall's sales were up 12.6 per cent, mainly thanks to an impressive month of sales for both Astra and Corsa models.

Buoying the November sales figures was a confident market enquiry from the business and fleet sector, which was up by 7 and 2.1 per cent respectively. A softening of consumer demand, as evidenced in reports of reduced demand for point of sale finance, is shown in the November results. Sales to private buyers were down 16.8 per cent at 75,384. But YTD private buyer sales are up 1.7 per cent.

Diesels continue to be the cornerstone of the sales growth during 2002 and accounted for 27.1 per cent of November sales. For the year-to-date, diesel sales are 38.1 per cent higher than the same period in 2001 and have taken 23.4 per cent of the market (2001=17.6 per cent).

For the full carmaker-by-carmaker analysis of November registrations, click here.

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