New car registrations ahead of expectations in April despite challenging conditions

  • The April new car market fell by 7.4% to 137,746 units. This was the 10th successive decline in volumes.
  • The market was 1.5% ahead of forecast and on par with the 2010 market with scrappage volumes removed.
  • Registrations over the first four months of 2011 were down 8.5% to 696,082 units.
  • Despite economic and supply chain uncertainty, SMMT’s full year forecast remains at 1.93 million units.
  • Fleet demand remains robust, up 6.5% in April, while diesel volumes also recorded strong growth.

“New car registrations in April demonstrated continued stability in the marketplace, with demand remaining lower than in 2010, although slightly ahead of industry expectations,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “The coming months will remain challenging, but we do expect to see a return to growth in the second half of the year.”

April Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business
               
2011 137,746 72,583 63,177 1,986 53,835 77,117 6,794
2010 148,793 67,682 79,770 1,341 70,360 72,379 6,054
% change -7.4% 7.2% -20.8% 48.1% -23.5% 6.5% 12.2%
Mkt share ’11   52.7% 45.9% 1.4% 39.1% 56.0% 4.9%
Mkt share ’10   45.5% 53.6% 0.9% 47.3% 48.6% 4.1%
               
Year-to-date Total Diesel Petrol AFV Private Fleet Business
               
2011 696,082 343,582 342,752 9,748 304,424 352,487 39,171
2010 760,341 318,818 434,086 7,437 378,713 344,890 36,738
% change -8.5% 7.8% -21.0% 31.1% -19.6% 2.2% 6.6%
Mkt share ’11   49.4% 49.2% 1.4% 43.7% 50.6% 5.6%
Mkt share ’10   41.9% 57.1% 1.0% 49.8% 45.4% 4.8%
               
Best sellers April          Year-to-date
               
  1 Fiesta 6,755   1 Fiesta 34,679
  2 Golf 4,973   2 Focus 29,278
  3 Astra 4,900   3 Corsa 25,424
  4 Corsa 4,888   4 Astra 22,150
  5 Focus 4,843   5 Golf 22,074
  6 Polo 4,524   6 Polo 16,738
  7 Insignia 3,912   7 Insignia 15,816
  8 Qashqai 3,738   8 3 Series 13,274
  9 3 Series 3,133   9 Qashqai 12,991
  10 Passat 2,720   10 207 12,188
                                       

 

Market continues to moderate in April, with private demand down

  • New car registrations in April, at 137,746 units, were down 11,047 units on the 2010 market. If registrations through the scrappage scheme are discounted from the 2010 market, the 2011 outturn is on par with last year’s total.
  • Registrations over the first four months of 2011 have fallen 8.5% to 696,082 units. This represents a decline of 64,259 units. During the same four month period in 2010 over 100,000 cars were reportedly registered through the scrappage scheme.
  • The market continues to move in line with SMMT’s forecast – the April market being within 1.5% of the forecast level. SMMT forecasts the full year market to fall by 5% to 1.93 million units, a view unchanged from the January estimate. The market is then expected to recover in 2012, back above two million units. However, there remains uncertainty over buyer confidence and from possible short-term supply constraints caused by the earthquake in Japan. SMMT forecasts the market to slow in quarter two, but then recover in quarter three.
  • In line with expectations, private volumes have fallen in 2011, down by 19.6% over the first four months of the year and by 23.5% in April following the removal of the Scrappage Incentive Scheme. Overall market volumes have been supported by growth in fleet and business demand.
  • Diesel cars represented 52.7% of the total market in April and have shown year-on-year growth in every month of 2011. The VW Golf was the best selling diesel in April. Alternatively fuelled car registrations rose by 48.1% in April.
  • The Ford Fiesta was the top selling car overall in the month and year-to-date. Registrations of small cars have generally fallen, again reflecting the impact of the scrappage scheme. Registrations of dual purpose and MPV segment cars were amongst those showing strong growth in the month.

Follow this link to download the full April registrations news release and data tables.

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New car registrations