- New car registrations fell 2.5% in February to 61,868 units.
- Market flat over first two months of 2012, down just 0.8%.
- Private registrations stabilised, up 2.1% over the first two months of the year.
- February typically accounts for just 3.3% of annual registrations, ahead of plate change in March.
“The February new car market was broadly in line with industry expectations with a welcome increase in private retail activity,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “The March market will provide a much better indicator of industry health than the relatively low volumes traditionally seen in February. It is extremely important that the Chancellor uses this month’s Budget to strengthen consumer and business confidence by encouraging private sector investment and avoiding any further squeeze on living standards.”
Market stable at start of 2012
- Despite new car registrations having fallen in the first two months of 2012, the market remains within 0.8% of last year, appearing broadly stable. Registrations in February were 1,556 units or 2.5% down and in line with expectations in this very low registration month.
- The private sector of the market appears to have stabilised, up 2.1% over the first two months of the year after a modest 0.6% rise in February.
- Diesel car registrations rose by 4.9% in the month, which pushed their market share to 53.9%, up on 50.1% a year ago. Registrations of alternatively fuelled cars also edged upwards in February.
- February typically accounts for little over 3% of annual registrations, ahead of the registration plate change in March. Some 350,000 new ’12-plate’ cars are expected to be registered in March, 2% below the 2011 market.
- The Ford Focus was the best selling model in February, ending an 11-month run at the top for the Ford Fiesta.
- The Dual Purpose segment again saw strong growth in February, supported by new models. Supermini registrations fell in February but are up for the year-to-date by 2.9%, representing 35.0% of the total market.
- SMMT forecasts the full year market to be 1.92 million units, just below last year’s 1.94 million units. This stability in the market place is heavily dependent, as ever, on the state on the economy at large. Industry looks to the Chancellor in his Budget on 21 March to find ways to stimulate the economy, maintain stability in all motoring taxes and duty regimes, sustain support for low-carbon transport markets and to boost the availability of affordable credit.
Click through to download the full February 2012 new car registrations news release and data table.