AM Online

September sales to drop 20%

Early predictions from carmakers are that September new car registrations will slump to around 340,000, down almost 20% on last year’s near 420,000 and 13% down on the SMMT’s forecast of 390,000.

AM reports in this week’s paper that with 17 of the 22 trading days reported, dealers had registered just over 250,000 new cars.

That had risen to 328,000 with two days remaining after some frenetic park deal activity by several manufacturers, willingly aided by dealers desperate to hit their bonus targets.

The volumes indicated by one manufacturer boss suggest the level of activity will have long-term implications for the motor industry. He quoted one dealer boss of a mid size group as taking on 800 cars from one European manufacturer.

Multiply those figures across the industry and it runs into tens of thousands of false registered cars. It will take months for dealers to wash these cars out of the system; expect to see plenty appear on used car supermarket forecourts and internet sales sites in the coming months.

The SMMT releases the official registration figures on Monday when it is likely to downgrade yet again its forecast for 2009.

Some carmakers are budgeting internally for a sub two million new car market next year, the first since the dark days of the Rip-off Britain campaign.

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