Will mad March market hare to a new record?

28 February 2002 #SMMT News

New car registrations could be as high as 420,000 units next month according to the SMMT. With strong demand in 2001 continuing into the new year, registrations may well beat the previous record March figure of 408,024 units, seen last year.

Estimates suggest that another bumper month for new car sales could see up to £6 billion worth of new cars being driven out of franchised dealer showrooms across the country. Consumer confidence remains high, driven by the competitive nature of the British market as it continues to drive prices down for buyers.

Independent figures released earlier this week by the Alliance and Leicester show new car prices were down again in January by 2.7 per cent. That makes 29 months in a row that UK prices have recorded a fall.

The latest figures come on top of a drop of 9.4 per cent seen in January 2001. The Alliance and Leicester commented that, ‘This keeps prices in line with the Competition Commission’s recommendation in May 2000 that new car prices in the UK should come down by 10 per cent, bringing them closer to those in mainland Europe.’

SMMT chief executive, Christopher Macgowan said, ‘The strength of the market demonstrates the competitive nature of UK franchised dealers. The manufacturer’s aim of supplying increasingly cleaner, safer and better-specified cars is paying dividends to all in the showrooms. This is not the industry blowing its own trumpet here – buyers are doing it for us. ‘

Notes to editors:

1. The forecast for total 2002 new car registrations is 2.35 million units.

2. Total registrations in 2001 reached 2,458,769 units, an all-time high.

3. Previous March totals for new car registration figures were:

2001: 408,024

2000: 401,972

1999: 370,060


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