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UK new car registrations put Europe in the shade, says Deloitte

The comments from the accounting giant come as the latest car registration figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show a 7.7% increase to 194,032 units compared with May 2013, with increases for fleets, business and private registrations. The figures mark the new car industry’s 27th consecutive month of comparative growth.

In response, David Raistrick, UK automotive leader at Deloitte, said: ‘This welcome news not only provides confidence for the UK car market, it also supplies lustre to what are otherwise disappointing growth numbers in the European market. Whilst European commentators have highlighted the consecutive months of growth achieved in the overall European market, the UK’s double digit improvement has been camouflaging the lower levels of recovery being achieved in the major German and French markets. What may cause some concern is the level of manufacturer and government support required to achieve such modest growth in these European strongholds.’

Raistrick also said that an interesting development in the UK has been the growth in the used car market at the same time as the new car market, which has been performing well. 

He commented: ‘The normal expectation would be that as more new cars are sold, an increasing number of nearly new used cars would come back into the market with the result that residual values would be driven lower. However, the largest increase in the UK car parc for 10 years has allowed for growth in both new and used markets with the result that there are now over 430,000 more cars on the road than at the end of 2012 and the average car age has now increased to 7.7 years. At the same time, sales of 2-5 year old cars have also increased significantly, with the first quarter of 2014 showing the highest used sales since 2009.  This has contributed to residual values remaining strong.  If residual values are to remain unchanged, we need to see the strong nearly new market continuing through 2014.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.