Fleet News

Car pricing uncertainty puts paid to September sales hopes

NEW car sales figures for September are expected to be below the 400,000 plus the motor industry had predicted. The motor industry had hoped that last month's launch of the V-plate would result in September sales perhaps topping the 425,000 mark.

However, a combination of new car pricing uncertainty fuelled by the on-going Competition Commission inquiry into the UK new car industry coupled with Ford's well publicised 'price promise' and car buyers deferring buying their car until 2000 for the 'millennium effect' are believed to have contributed to the lower-than-expected sales.

Consequently September's sales are expected to be little different from T-plate sales in March when a total of 370,060 units were sold, unless there is a bonanza of last-minute 'false' registrations by manufacturers and dealers. With the expected September sales boom not materialising there are fears among some manufacturers that the final quarter of 1999 could also be a struggle, and Glass's Guide this week claimed it was now 'a buyers' market'.

'Manufacturers who stocked up in the expectation of the bumper September that was forecast are going to be left with a tranche of unsold cars which they will want to move on pretty quickly,' said director of valuation products Paul Jarvis. 'Simultaneously there are some extraordinarily good deals available, which mean that the actual transaction prices currently being paid for new cars are significantly lower than recommended retail prices.'

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