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…?
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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