Fleet dominate January new car sales
New car registrations rose 0.03% to 128,853 units in January, with diesel and alternatively-fuelled cars increasing volumes, up 6.3% and 17.7% respectively. Fleet accounted for 70,649 units – around 55% of the total market. Retail sales took a 41% share.
Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive, said: ‘The January new car market held firm with 128,853 registrations, marginally up on January 2011, a welcome sign of stability in uncertain economic times. 2012 is set to be an exciting year with record numbers of new models coming to market filled with innovative technology that will save the motorist fuel, enhance comfort and further increase levels of safety and security. However, to maintain market stability, government must act decisively and deliver much needed confidence to businesses and consumers.
Demand for diesel cars continues to rise and its market share moved from 50.5% a year ago to 53.7%, as fleets look to ensure increased fuel efficiency. Registrations of alternatively fuelled vehicles rose by 17.7% in the month and accounted for 1.6% of the market, mirroring the record levels confirmed in November and December 2011, on the back of new products entering the market.
The new car market is expected to remain stable in 2012, dipping just 1% to 1.92 million units in 2012, before recovering in 2013.
January typically accounts for around 7% of annual registrations, ahead of the key March market, which typically represents 18% of the annual market and approximately 65% of volumes registered in quarter one.