According to Glass's, a total of 76 all-new cars (not facelifts) have been confirmed for production next year, up a massive 55% on the tally in 2004.
The bulk of these launches will be for niche models, such as small and compact MPVs, SUVs coupes, convertibles and sports roadsters. The city car/supermini sector will see the biggest individual increase in choice, with 16 new arrivals compared to just four this year.
According to Glass's Market Intelligence Service, the new car launches should help lessen the impact of the widely-anticipated slowdown in sales following several years of record new car registrations.
"Another positive sign is that, because of falling house prices, interest rates have probably peaked, and the Bank of England may feel able to maintain rates at their current 4.75 per cent for some time," says Alan Cole, editorial consultant at Glass's Market Intelligence Service. "This means that, despite lower equity in their houses, consumers will have the reassurance that interest rates should remain stable following a series of rate increases since last November.
"With new car sales having levelled-off this year, there is every possibility that the sheer volume of interesting and desirable new models expected in 2005 may well give consumers a good reason to buy a new car. We feel that these new market entrants will stimulate new car demand, and should cushion the fall in registrations experienced during 2004."