The new car market fell for a fourth successive month, with the 22.2% drop in October the steepest decline since May 2009. The 2010 October market was 2.4% ahead of the low of 2008, and on par with the 2009 market if all scrappage volumes were excluded. In October 2009 scrappage represented 21.9% of the market, with 37,000 units.
Diesel car registrations rose by 3.8% as market share climbed to a record 54.7%, 13.7 percentage points higher than a year ago when demand for small petrol cars was vibrant through the scrappage scheme. Registrations of alternatively fuelled cars jumped 13.7% in the month and are up 51.3% over the first ten months of the year.
The three and six month performances show how the market has cooled recently, with declines of 13.6% and 6.1% respectively, but over the past 12 months growth remains up 9.6%.
October’s decline was in line with SMMT expectations for the month. The full year forecast was revised upwards to 2.026 million units last month, a modest 1.5% rise over 2009.
The Ford Fiesta was again the best selling model, but registrations of supermini and mini segment cars have fallen sharply in recent months.
“There was a significant fall in October’s new car registrations, reflecting the impact of the Scrappage Incentive Scheme (SIS) at this time last year and some deterioration in consumer confidence. Total new car registrations in 2010 are forecast to be 2.026 million units, 1.5% up on 2009," said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “The industry expects the coming months to be challenging with slow, but steady, economic growth feeding through to improved confidence and demand during 2011.”