Registrations fell 18.0% in December to 123,817 units but overall for the year were up 35,847 units to 2,030,846 which is a 1.8% increase.
“2010 was a year of recovery for the motor industry with new car registrations up 1.8% on 2009,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “Economic conditions remain extremely challenging, but industry expects demand to strengthen in the second half of the year. Competition in the retail sector will intensify as the industry seeks to re-balance demand across its new and used car and service and repair business. UK motor manufacturing recovered particularly well in 2010 and the outlook is for further steady growth this year.”
Early growth helps to overcome sharp slowdown in second half of 2010 as 2010 market rises to 2,030,529 units
2010 was a tale of two halves, with volumes up 19.9% in the first half of the year, but falling 13.8% in the second half. The step change was a reflection of the removal of the Scrappage Incentive Scheme in March 2010. Over 100,000 cars were registered through the scheme in 2010, around 5% of the total market. Whilst up 1.8% on 2009, the 2010 market was still the second lowest in the past decade and almost 375,000 units short of the 2007 levels.
Registrations fell by 18.0% in December, with the market a little below expectations. If scrappage volumes were removed completely from the 2009 December tally, then the 2010 December figure would have been up almost 6,000 units or 4.8%.
Private registrations fell below one million units for only the second time in the past decade, dropping by 5.6% over the full year and by 37.5% in December. Fleet volumes were more resilient and grew by 10.3% over the full year. Business demand also rose in 2010 after a 42.8% rise in December. Fleet volumes are expected to sustain the market in 2011, whilst private demand will fall further – in part reflecting the loss of the scrappage scheme.
UK-built cars outperformed the market, up 17.4% over year-to-date and 7.4% in December. The market share was the highest since 2005.
Diesel penetration also rose to a record 46.1%, in part helped by growth of MPV and dual purpose (SUV) segments, which have a high diesel penetration, as well as the slowdown in petrol car sales post scrappage.
The Ford Fiesta was the best selling new car for a second successive year in 2010 and Ford was again the bestselling brand, whilst in December Vauxhall was the top brand and the Astra was the best selling model.
Top ten best sellers December