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November sales hit pre-recession levels

November’s new car market was restored to 2007 levels as the month ended with 158,082 registrations.

That total was a 57.56% leap up from the same month last year, when just 100,333 units were registered as consumer confidence was on the floor, buyers waited for the December 1 VAT cut and news reports highlighted industry efforts to get scrappage cash from the Government.

It also meant the market ended just shy of November 2007’s 158,735 total. Last month's unexpected rise means the full-year market is now expected to exceed 1,975,000 registrations.
A look at the fleet, business and retail split shows that the corporate car market is building again as extended lease vehicles are finally changed for new in quarter four.

For full details and graphs, see the December AMe by clicking here.

At the end of September, the year’s fleet market was down 25.1% and business market down 29.4% against the same point last year. Two months on, both have lifted by around 4 percentage points to 21.5% and 25.6% respectively.

Scrappage accounted for 21.6% of the November market. A total of 87,275 private units represented 55.2% of registrations, which illustrates the strength of scrappage in attracting retail customers when this figure is compared to the similarly sized market of November 2007. At that point, 65,970 private registrations accounted for only 41.6% of the
month’s units.
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) chief executive Paul Everitt said: “The increase in new car registrations in November reflects the positive impact of the scrappage scheme, customers avoiding the VAT increase in January and the very difficult conditions we experienced
a year ago.

“We are urging the Government to use its pre-Budget report to sustain the recovery and generate business confidence by stimulating demand in key parts of the new vehicle market.”
The SMMT warned the outlook for 2010 was uncertain, with the scrappage scheme ending soon, VAT returning to 17.5% in January and the new first-year road tax rates coming into effect in April.

Few losers

There were few losers in November’s market. Lexus, Bentley, Proton, MG, Daihatsu, Saab, Daimler and Hummer were the only brands to post worse performances than November 2008 and together their volumes didn’t even break into four figures. All other carmakers were winners, albeit with their success compared to an extremely depressed November 2008. 

Leading the growth was Hyundai, with sales a remarkable 561% up, tailed by sister brand Kia and Suzuki, who had both more than trebled their previous performance.
Renault re-established itself as a volume player to bag its 5% market share ambition with vastly improved registrations, while fellow mainstream brands Nissan and Fiat easily more than doubled last November’s achievements.

Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen also deserve mention for their impressive growth, with Ford actually outperforming its achievements of pre-recession November 2007, when its sales totalled 21,072. Vauxhall and Volkswagen couldn’t quite match that achievement, nevertheless growing sales by 3,513 and 2,436 units respectively.

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