Now I know you all love figures and statistics, so here we go, as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders have published details of the number of new cars sold in the UK in 2010.
We have tried to simplify it all, but effectively, 2,030,846 cars were sold in the UK during 2010, which is an increase of just 1.8% over 2009 and OK, any increase is good, but fact is 2010 was the second lowest new car market in the last decade and some 375,000 vehicles lower than pre-recession 2007.
Seems the fleet market is responsible for the lion’s share of new car sales in 2010 with 973,233 vehicles purchased by businesses, (an increase of more than 10% on 2009) compared to 958,005 purchased by private individuals which is only the second time in a decade that private registrations have fallen below one million cars and when you consider that for the first 3 months of 2010 the governments scrappage scheme was in place and that accounted for 100,000 new registrations, this isn’t a healthy position.
As for the cars themselves, well many of us chose diesel as 46.1% of what we bought were ‘oil burners’ and many of us also chose UK built cars as well and they accounted for 17.4% of the market.
The Ford Fiesta was the best selling car for the year with over 103,000 rolling out of the showrooms. Vauxhall’s Astra picked up second with a touch over 80,000 sold, but Ford hung on valiantly with the soon to be replaced Ford Focus taking the third place on the podium notching up almost 78,000 sales. Vauxhall strikes back with the Corsa in fourth place with 77,000 sold, beating the VW duo of Golf into fifth place with 58,000 sold and Polo into sixth place with 45,000 registrations. Only French car in the top ten was the Peugeot 207 at seventh, with 42,000 supplied. Germany again at eighth with the BMW 3 Series and 42,000 sales and that’s followed by BMW owned Mini which is still selling in big numbers at ninth with 41,000. Final car in the top ten is the only MPV and justifiably so, the excellent Nissan Qashqai delivers 39,000 vehicles.
December 2010 was a poor month, with overall registrations falling by 18%, but when you consider that private registrations fell by 37.5% in December with private buyers purchasing just 59,000 cars in December 2010, compared to over 85,000 cars in the same month in 2009, it’s easy to see how the fleet market prevented a disaster of a month. The top ten figures are just so important to the car makers and it’s become normal for there to be a flurry of registrations instigated by car manufacturers to grab the all important top spots.
So overall for the year, it was Ford that was the best selling brand and for the second successive year, it was the Ford Fiesta which was the best selling car.
Who knows what 2011 will hold for the motor industry as you could argue that an increase of 1.8% in registrations over 2009 when don’t forget, the scrappage scheme was in place, must indicate that some kind of recovery is, or has taken place, but an increase in the vat rate to 20% which will affect an average car by around £300 wont help the situation.
But on the flip-side, today’s cars are so much more eco-friendly and for the main part so much more economical and there is a compulsive case to be made that with continually rising fuel costs, the sooner you get into one of these cars, well the more money you are going to save. We know that there is a kind of pent-up demand in the market, as both companies and private individuals have been rocked by challenging economic climate and many have held off replacing vehicles, deciding to wait until a more favourable time, but at some point these older vehicles will have to be replaced and that’s a fact. There are a number of new models being launched during 2011, most importantly I would suggest, the new Ford Focus and for all these reasons, I feel 2011, whilst its unlikely to be a record breaker, will definitely see a major improvement on 2010.
So it’s so-long 2010 and welcome 2011.