Fleet News

Claims of '70,000 imported cars' dismissed as nonsense

CLAIMS that one in six new cars on Britain's roads are bought abroad have been dismissed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders as 'nonsense'.

The SMMT has accused the British Independent Motor Trade Association of not doing its homework after it claimed Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency data for January 1 to June 30 shows that in the first six months of the year 70,000 cars - most of them new - were independently registered on V55/5 forms and came from abroad, but within the European Union. Another 15,000 were sourced from countries such as Japan and the USA.

After analysing a four-week period of DVLA figures, and then applying those to a full 12-month period, the BIMTA concludes that 140,000 EU imports will have been registered by the end of the year - 16% of the new car market. Its methodology assumes that official dealers do not use DVLA V55/5 forms to register new cars.

But a spokesman for the SMMT said: 'It's nonsense - a wild guesstimate. You can't just take a four-week period and multiply it by 12. The association just hasn't looked at the data properly. We have a team of 20 people doing this and our forecast for the entire year is between 62,000 and 78,000 units.'

But the association, which represents almost 100 non-franchised dealers in the UK importing vehicles worth about £500 million a year, says its stands by its figures.

Spokesman Richard Moore said: 'This is the first time such a comprehensive analysis of imports has been undertaken. The public is sending a clear message to motor manufacturers that it's fed up paying artificially high prices. The industry as a whole has been slow to respond to demands to slash prices and is now paying the penalty.'

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