Fleet News

Special feature: SMMT motor industry facts

A SNAPSHOT of the UK motor industry created by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has thrown into sharp focus some of the key issues facing fleet decision-makers today.

Information covering more than a decade of new car and van sales, the economy, tax, safety, the environment and the vehicle car parc has been collated for the new guide, designed to provide a quick reference guide to the role the motor industry plays in the UK.

Most importantly for fleets, Motor Industry Facts 2004 shows that fleets are still getting some of the best deals on wheels available.

In the past six years, new car prices have only kept up with inflation for three years.

Over the past decade, new car registrations have risen from 1.91 million to 2.58 million last year, with only a small dip in 1999 and 2000 halting the steady increase.

Commercial vehicle sales have also enjoyed a steady rise, from 228,083 sales to 363,687 in 2003.

At total of 1.65 million cars were built in the UK in 2003, along with 188,871 vans.

During the decade, buying habits have changed considerably, with the total share of the car market taken by superminis at its highest level ever, 33.9%.

Lower-medium cars and upper-medium cars have been in steady decline for more than 10 years in terms of their share of the market, (27.9% and 18.6% respectively during 2003) while executive cars were on the same course until last year, when market share lifted slightly to 4.6%.

Luxury saloons account for about half of one percent, while specialist sports vehicles make up 2.5% of sales.

But the real stars of recent years have been models including 4x4s, which now account for 6.2%, up 67% over the decade and MPVs, which have now taken 4.2%, which represents a 600% rise.

Last year, that left the overall market with a top 10 featuring the all-conquering Ford Focus in first place, with 131,684 sales, Vauxhall's Corsa in second, with 108,387, the Astra, with 96,929, Ford Fiesta with 95,887 and Peugeot 206 in fifth with 95,052.

Tying up the rest of the top 10 were the Renault Clio (83,972), Renault Megane (71,660), Volkswagen Golf (67,226), BMW 3-series (65,489) and Peugeot 307 (60,356).

Fuel duty in the UK – 1993 and 2003: travel by road safer, despite car growth

DESPITE the growth in the car parc, travel by road is getting safer. Since 1972, road deaths have dropped by 55.8% while the number of cars has grown 57%.

Simply putting on a seatbelt saves 500 lives and 7,000 serious injuries annually, experts suggest.

Compared with the rest of Europe, the UK is one of the safest countries to drive in, with 6.05 road fatalities per 100,000 population in 2002. Only Sweden fares better, on 5.97. By contrast, the United States of America records 14.85 deaths per 100,000 population and Poland 15.25.

The report also reveals how annual vehicle taxation has swelled with greater vehicle numbers, from £30.3 billion in 1996 to £42.5 billion in 2003.

Between 1993 and 2003, the fuel duty and VAT share in a gallon of unleaded rose from 66.8% to 75.6%. For diesel, it went from 65.7% to 74.1%.

  • To view the SMMT research (as a pdf) click here.
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