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.'