Fleet News

Mitsubishi warns of terminal harm over sales figures

THE UK motor industry has rebutted allegations that 'misleading' new car sales figures, which paint a rosy picture, are doing 'terminal harm' to the industry.

Mitsbishi has again attacked the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' figures, which which revealed an 8.11% drop in April's new car sales figures year-on-year.

The figures, claimed Mitsubishi, were 'totally inaccurate' and were distorted by two huge increases - Rover's disposal of cheap stockpiled cars had boosted sales by 116.5% year-on-year and Kia's return to the UK market with a full range of vehicles had resulted in a 3,477% year-on-year rise.

Mitsubishi said that to obtain a true picture of the 'continued demise' of the UK new car industry, the Rover and Kia figures had to be removed making the real downturn 15.93%.

Of the 46 manufacturers and importers making up the SMMT listing, Mitsubishi said 31 reported year-on-year sales reductions last month averaging 31.9%.And, added Mitsubishi: 'These figures do not take into account the now traditional massaging of the sales figures by end of month pre-registrations, so in real terms the true market is considerably worse.'

The SMMT claims this year's new car sales will remain pegged at about 2.2 million and puts this year's figures at 1.22% above 1999's four-month tally. However, a Mitsubishi spokesman said: 'With pre-registration and misreading of the figures, the real market is much lower and the yearly 2.2 million sales predicted by the SMMT looks wildly optimistic.' Mitsubishi is a member of the SMMT. A spokesman for the organisation said: 'We stand by the published figures.'

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