Car sales surge, but industry warns of false dawn

The rapid decline in car sales appears to have been arrested with a 10.4 PC rise in new car registrations in April – but the industry warns that this is an anomaly.

Data on new car sales for the month to rise sharply after 12 consecutive months of decline.

According to data collected by society of manufacturers and sellers of automobiles (smmt), 168,000 new cars were registered in April, compared with 152,000 in the same month last year. To date, this means down 8.8 PC year on year.

In the first three months of 2018, sales fell by 12.4 PC, as drivers refused to splashing out on cars. The combination of the confusion of the state policy in the field of maintenance of diesel cars and economic uncertainty associated with leaving the UK was blamed for the fall.

However, sales in the first three months of last year were secured by drivers rushing to beat the introduction of new vehicle excise duty (VED), which entered into force at the end of March.

This meant that sales in April 2017 was abnormally low, as new rules of foreign economic activity “pulled ahead” sales in the first three months of the year.

Some of the largest British car dealers warned against the idea that to increase sales for April marked a “new normal” for the UK car market.

“The numbers this April flattered by soft comparisons for the past year,” said Daksh Gupta, CEO Marshall motor group. “This is not a new norm.”

He added that the way the calendar falls with Easter meant that this year had more days of sale, a flattering performance.

“I am very surprised at the increase 10pcs,” Mr. Gupta said. “This suggests that the market for the year can only be 2pc or 3pc last year, which was down 5.6 PC at the sales of the previous year to 2.7 m, which was an absolute record”.

Trevor Finn, the leader of the dealer group Pendragon, said that the effects of VED changes had distorted the figures for the previous year, so the comparison is meaningless.

“Look for April 2016 – it was a record – to get an idea about what is happening in the market,” he said, referring to 189,000 vehicles sold in the same month two years ago.

Mr. Finn added that in General in the first half of 2017 was “so distorted FEA” it’s too early to get a clear picture of the true state of auto sales.

He added: “sales in April may be a step back to normality, but it is only a step. That’s not what the current size of the market is the complexity, the size of the correction, which is complexity.”

Oppa figures showed that sales of petrol increased by almost 40 PCs on an annual basis 107,000 in April, while diesel fuel fell by 25 PC to 50000 with alternative fuel vehicles (AFV), such as electric and hybrid cars are enjoying a surge in sales from 50pc to 9000 per month.

This gives gasoline 61.9 PC market this year, 10 percentage points below the same point a year ago. Diesel has a 32.9 PC, compared to 44.1 PC a year ago, and have BMD 5.2 PC, from 4.1 PC last round.

Mike Hawes, chief Executive officer oppa, he added: “it is important not to look at one month in isolation, and considering the significant infringement last April in the market caused a radical change, in fact, this increase is not unexpected.

“Despite the continued growth in demand for plug-in and hybrid vehicles is positive news, the market share of these funds remains low and is not enough to compensate for the loss of damage elsewhere. Consumers require certainty in relation to future policy with respect to various fuels, including diesel, and a convincing package of incentives to ensure long-term confidence in the latest technology”.

The website cars sale auto trader, which has a unique perspective on the state of the market from data obtained from consumers, search vehicles, he added in a gloomy tone.

Ian Plummer, Director of auto trader, said: “this growth does not mean that the market quickly bounced back. Instead, it simply reflects the fact that in April 2017 was particularly weak as a result of new car buyers pulling forward their purchases ahead of the implementation of the new FEA. May could well see a similar, but less return, with June likely to see a more basic trend.”

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