Is The UK Market On The Blue Pill?

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
is the uk market on the blue pill

The BBC reports that new car registrations in the UK have inexplicably risen 10.8 percent in June 2010 compared with this time, last year. What makes this “inexplicable” is the fact that sales have risen, despite the fact that the “cash for clunkers” scheme had ended on March the 31st, 2010. “The new car market continued to perform above expectations in June,” said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) chief executive Paul Everitt said, “The results indicate improved business confidence and a strengthening economic recovery.” However, a quick look at the SMMT report reveals a potential answer. The article shows that fleet sales grew 25.3 percent. Those pesky fleet sales! Let’s take a quick look at some of the brands and their performance, shall we…?

UK SALES JUNEMARQUE2010 % market share2009% market share% ChangeFord23,71612.1529,80316.91-20.42Vauxhall30,20015.4720,99011.9143.88Volkswagen16,4378.4212,5617.1330.86Peugeot10,1105.189,9095.622.03Audi8,9314.577,7504.4015.24Renault8,8434.532,8531.62209.95BMW10,6795.479,6485.4710.69Toyota8,5324.376,9943.9721.99Nissan10,3765.317,1494.0645.14Hyundai4,1362.125,2652.99-21.44Citroen6,8403.505,5113.1324.12Mercedes-Benz7,0283.607,4084.20-5.13Honda6,2933.227,0243.98-10.41Kia4,1692.144,9452.81-15.69Fiat5,3262.735,1432.923.56Mazda4,0312.062,8451.6141.69Skoda4,2512.183,4771.9722.26MINI4,9252.524,6652.655.57Land Rover3,0681.572,1051.1945.75Volvo3,5141.802,7061.5429.86SEAT2,3251.192,6641.51-12.73Suzuki1,8560.954,0862.32-54.58Jaguar1,4800.761,5160.86-2.37Chevrolet1,1170.572,4031.36-53.52Mitsubishi1,8870.971,1430.6565.09smart7910.418430.48-6.17Alfa Romeo7410.389350.53-20.75Lexus6130.316370.36-3.77Porsche8130.424850.2867.63Saab7040.365870.3319.93Subaru4410.233250.1835.69Jeep920.052760.16-66.67Chrysler910.052040.12-55.39Abarth1200.06930.0529.03Other British1530.08700.04118.57Other Imports1230.061000.0623.00Aston Martin910.051130.06-19.47Bentley840.04850.05-1.18Proton590.031140.06-48.25Perodua670.03570.0317.54Dodge550.031790.10-69.27Lotus660.03450.0346.67MG200.01310.02-35.48Ssangyong100.011110.06-90.99Daihatsu90.003790.22-97.63Infiniti130.0100.000.00Cadillac00.00220.01-100.00Corvette00.0020.00-100.00Daimler00.0070.00-100.00Hummer00.0010.00-100.00Opel00.0000.000.00Total195,226 176,264 10.76

Let’s start with the American brands. Cadillac had a pretty poor showing. In June 2009, they sold 22 cars. In June 2010, they sold nothing. Not a sausage. A 100 percent drop. Hummer, in June 2009 sold just 1 car. I bet you can have a guess at how many they sold in June 2010. Another 100 percent drop. OK, I am being unfair. These are marginal brands in Europe, so let’s look at something a bit more mainstream. Chrysler in June 2009 sold 204 cars and in June 2010 they sold 91, a drop of 55.39 percent. What was strange was the perennial fight between Vauxhall and Ford. Vauxhall, in June 2009, sold 20,990 and in June 2010 they sold 30,200, a rise of 43.88 percent. Compare that with Ford who sold 29,803 cars in June 2009 and in June 2010 they sold 23,716, a drop of 20.42 percent. That could explain their recent decision to cut prices in the UK by 15 percent. Well, when you’re number one in a particular market, you’d do your best to defend it, wouldn’t you?

Right, let’s go to Japan. Nissan showed a massive increase of 45.14 percent, selling 10,376 cars in June compared with 7,149 units for the same period last year. But the biggest surprise went to Toyota, who sold 8,532 units compared to 6,994 units this time last year. A rise of 21.99 percent. SUSR. Sudden Unintended Sales Rises. Honda didn’t fare so well, reporting a 10.41 percent drop in sales.

Now for the European mob. Volkswagen’s sales increased 30.36 percent, selling 16,437 units compared to 12,561 units last year in June. But the brand which really made me spit my coffee over my laptop was Renault. In June 2010, Renault sold 8,843 units. A year before, in June 2009, Renault had sold only 2,853 units. Which makes for a sales increase of 209.95 percent! I’m still not convinced this is correct, but these are the SMMT’s figures, so I have no reason to doubt them.

For the first six months of the year … but look for yourself.

UK SALES YEAR TO DATEMARQUE2010% market share2009% market share% ChangeFord158,35014.28159,09017.20-0.47Vauxhall133,46112.04122,01313.199.38Volkswagen96,0868.6775,4538.1627.35Peugeot59,7395.3949,0735.3121.73Audi56,4905.1046,9305.0720.37Renault52,7264.7623,9922.59119.76BMW51,3054.6343,7464.7317.28Toyota49,3274.4547,2595.114.38Nissan45,5234.1131,2423.3845.71Hyundai38,7473.4919,7992.1495.70Citroen37,8883.4231,2993.3821.05Mercedes-Benz37,6193.3934,5453.738.90Honda34,9223.1538,4474.16-9.17Kia34,2643.0919,0642.0679.73Fiat29,8722.6922,3402.4233.72Mazda24,8732.2420,4912.2221.38Skoda22,7202.0514,9651.6251.82MINI22,2662.0117,4221.8827.80Land Rover22,0261.9913,3921.4564.47Volvo21,7581.9614,1031.5254.28SEAT17,3171.5613,6551.4826.82Suzuki11,6761.0514,0731.52-17.03Jaguar8,5420.779,1180.99-6.32Chevrolet7,9470.728,7890.95-9.58Mitsubishi6,3410.574,7710.5232.91smart4,1470.373,8760.426.99Alfa Romeo3,8360.353,9120.42-1.94Lexus3,5930.323,7520.41-4.24Porsche3,3300.302,7440.3021.36Saab2,5170.235,1040.55-50.69Subaru2,2620.201,5900.1742.26Jeep1,1280.101,1110.121.53Chrysler7990.071,0600.11-24.62Abarth7350.076120.0720.10Other British6300.064500.0540.00Other Imports6290.066200.071.45Aston Martin5410.056230.07-13.16Bentley5290.054170.0526.86Proton4600.044900.05-6.12Perodua4540.042700.0368.15Dodge4500.049570.10-52.98Lotus2750.022490.0310.44MG1810.021300.0139.23Ssangyong1740.023630.04-52.07Daihatsu1270.011,4020.15-90.94Infiniti550.0000.000.00Cadillac200.00640.01-68.75Corvette20.00320.00-93.75Daimler20.00140.00-85.71Hummer10.00420.00-97.62Opel00.0000.000.00Total1,108,662 924,955 19.86

There are plenty of other brands for you to peruse over and here is the link to the full breakdown. I remain unconvinced about the sustainability of these sales figures. The BBC also reported that the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) predicts a growth in GDP for the second quarter of between 0.6-0.7 percent. Which is hardly in the same ballpark as countries like Brazil, China and India. Even that figure came with caveats. Also factor in the new government’s austerity program, which will curtail money for all families and it doesn’t make for a pretty economic picture over the next five years in the UK. I’m sure these sales figures are due for correction. The question is when…?

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2 of 5 comments
  • Tstag Tstag on Jul 06, 2010

    Land Rover up 45%, they have been flying up the sales charts for a while now, despite having no new models.... shame Ford sold out so quickly

  • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Jul 06, 2010

    So, in Brazil Fiat sold 60k last month vs. 2k in the UK. Even Renault sells on average 5k a month in Brazil, about equal to Renault in OK (on average). And even in UK cars sell for less than BRazil. Depressing really. OTOH it does explain why Fiat won't be going out of business anytime soon...

  • SPPPP The little boosters work way better than you would expect. I am a little nervous about carrying one more lithium battery around in the car (because of fire risk). But I have used the booster more than once on trips, and it has done the job. Also, it seems to hold charge for a very long time - months at least - when you don't use it. (I guess I could start packing it for trips, but leaving it out of the car on normal days, to minimize the fire risk.)
  • Bader Hi I want the driver side lights including the bazl and signal
  • Theflyersfan One positive: doesn't appear to have a sunroof. So you won't need to keep paper towels in the car.But there's a serious question to ask this seller - he has less than 40,000 miles on some major engine work, and the transmission and clutch work and mods are less than 2 months old...why are you selling? That's some serious money in upgrades and repairs, knowing that the odds of getting it back at the time of sale is going to be close to nil. This applies to most cars and it needs to be broadcasted - these kinds of upgrades and mods are really just for the current owner. At the time of sale, a lot of buyers will hit pause or just won't pay for the work you've done. Something just doesn't sit well with me and this car. It could be a snowbelt beast and help save the manuals and all that, but a six year old VW with over 100,000 miles normally equals gremlins and electrical issues too numerous to list. Plus rust in New England. I like it, but I'd have to look for a crack pipe somewhere if the seller thinks he's selling at that price.
  • 2ACL I can't help feeling that baby is a gross misnomer for a vehicle which the owner's use necessitated a (manual!) transmission rebuild at 80,000 miles. An expensive lesson in diminishing returns I wouldn't recommend to anyone I know.
  • El scotto Rumbling through my pantry and looking for the box of sheets of aluminum foil. More alt right comments than actual comments on international trade policy. Also a great deal of ignorance about the global oil industry. I'm a geophysicist and I pay attention such things. Best of all we got to watch Tassos go FULL BOT on us.