UK In July 2010: Car Market Sinks 13.2 Percent

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan

Last month, I asked whether the UK car market had taken a blue pill. The reason I’d asked is because sales were rising despite the local “bangers for cash” scheme had ended months ago. Well, it appears that the effects are finally wearing off (I was going to say “flopping” but we’ve used that metaphor enough). The SMMT reports that UK new car registrations fell 13.2 percent in July 2010. This marks the first month in this year where sales dropped. This is expected to continue through 2010 as the market slows down. This is not surprising as the government cutbacks will start to take effect this year.

“A drop in private registrations compared to the scrappage-fuelled months of 2009 was expected and has brought the first market decline for 12 months,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “Subdued consumer confidence and a still fragile economic recovery make the outlook for the remainder of 2010 challenging, but a stronger than expected first half means full year volumes are still forecast to exceed 2009’s total.”. Another curious finding of the report was how diesel vehicles are now the dominant powertrain of choice, with market share up to 50.6 percent. Anyway, shall we take a closer look at the figures?

Ford is normally used at the barometer of the UK car market. And a quick look at their figures tells us that it’s bad news. Compared to July 2009, Ford’s sales dropped 25.27 percent. The silver lining to this is that the Ford Fiesta was still the best selling car in the UK. Sticking with American car makes, the news got even worse. Fringe brands like Cadillac and Chrysler dropped 100 and 68.08 percent, respectively. But Chevrolet was very interesting. If GM plans to usurp Vauxhall as GM’s brand of choice in Europe, then they’d better try harder as the bow-tied one’s sales dropped 66.61 percent. As for Vauxhall, their sales dropped, only not as severely. They fell 10.34 percent.

Now, over to the Japanese. Nissan and Mazda’s sales stay relatively flat, falling only 1.96 and 0.53 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, Toyota’s sales fell 23.65 percent, compared to July 2009. But wait, there’s worse! Honda’s sales plunged 32.92 percent. But wait, there’s worse! Subaru’s sales fell 44.24 percent. Clearly not enough boy racers being born in the UK. But wait, there’s worse! The Tri-diamond boys’, Mitsubishi, sales plummeted 54.36 percent, selling only 528 cars. Even Mazda’s sales were more than four times that of Mitsubishi’s (Mazda sold 2,814 units in July). Maybe Mitsubishi might want to think about giving up the UK market? But wait, there worse! Suzuki, Volkswagen’s new bride, fell a huge 59.44 percent.

Staying in the Orient, we now look at Hyundai and Kia. Now given their stellar performance elsewhere in the world, you’d think that the UK would be no different, right? Wrong. Kia’s sales fell 4.87 percent, but the biggest surprise was Hyundai. They fell an astonishing 47.86 percent. Seems like all that World Cup advertising didn’t work in the UK.

Now time to go to the Continent. Let’s start with the Deutschlanders, ja? Volkswagen branded vehicles’ sales stumbled a bit, dropping 5.45 percent. Audi fared worse, dropping 12.14 percent. On the plus side, Seat and Skoda posted sales gains of 7.37 and 3.94 percent, respectively. Seat? The best performing mainstream brand for Volkswagen? Who’d have thought it? Meanwhile, with the luxury lads, BMW sales rose 13.05 percent and Mercedes-Benz cars rose 8.60 percent.

Now it’s time to jump the border to France. Renault fared well, posting a sales gain of 14.19 percent. Not as spectacular as 209.95 percent last month, but a sales gain is a sales gain. PSA, however, didn’t fare so great with Peugeot and Citroen dropping 5.68 and 4.63 percent, respectively. Now time to go south of the border to Torino, Italy and see how Sergio Marchionne’s boys are doing. Not well, it seems. Fiat branded cars’ sales dropped (I’ve run out of different words for “fell”) 31.44 percent, while Alfa Romeo took an even bigger stumble, plunging 42.84 percent. Ouch!

For the full breakdown of how the UK car market panned out for July 2010, you can download the spreadsheet here from the SMMT website.

Well, that it from me about the UK car market. I’ll be back next month to bore you silly about a market you don’t care about. This is Cammy “ The puss-weeping wound” Corrigan, signing off.

Join the conversation
2 of 6 comments
  • Tricky Dicky Tricky Dicky on Aug 10, 2010

    Cammy - I don't doubt that an intelligent, provocatively funny woman who doesn't care too much to culturally identify with the majority will be a threat to some. In fact, you could strip away all those attributes and just leave the "woman" bit behind and I think there'd still be a significant proportion of contributors here who would be reactive to that. Can you think of any other woman apart from the anonymous Booth Babe who hangs out in this corner of the Youtwatosphere? Yes, you did leap on JB's head a bit but he is a complete and utter misogynist (sleeps with women to get free accomodation the night before a track day!!) and his article revealed his level of emotional IQ. It was deserving of a smackdown and you did it. So that means you've got cajones ;-) even if it means a temporary splinter in the editorial unity. Keep up the good work and behave enough to keep on contributing please.

  • George70steven George70steven on Nov 24, 2010

    don’t know one person who liked the tinnitus inducing drone of those bloody Vuvuzela’s during the World Cup. Can’t understand it based on the normal criteria for evaluating a stranger’s writing. car insurance quote

  • MrIcky I would like to compare the answers here against the answers in the recent civil forfeiture article- but I won't because research is hard. It's true though that currently a ticket has no punitive value on those with means and maybe an outsized punitive value on those without. That's not communism, that's just the way it is. Speeding tickets are too arbitrary anyway though: officer discretion, speed trap towns, excessively low speed zones in areas to increase ticket revenue instead of safety, etc. I could clearly see a case where expensive cars are selectively enforced over cheap cars because you only have so much time in a day to up the revenue. It's a gray rainy crap morning and I'm sure the government will do it wrong.
  • 28-Cars-Later Feels a bit high but then again... forget it Jake, its Clown World.In 2021 someone in Sewickley had an MY01 soft top in a manual with 54K otc which I am fairly certain was a 996 and not a Boxster - $20K. I already had my C70 at the shop being reborn and could have done the $20K but it would have been tight and just didn't make sense. Still...
  • SCE to AUX Q: Should Speeding Fines Be Based on Income?A: Yes. Rich people (the guy with $1 more than you) should pay less, because giving his income to the government means he has to lay off a worker at his business.Laws are for poor people./s
  • SCE to AUX "Volvo has suggested it’s capable of yielding 275 miles of range"Every non-US car's range estimate is based on WLTP - worth mentioning.EPA range never 'backs up' WLTP; it's always about 15% lower - so figure maybe 234 miles. Not great, except as a commuter.As for the interior - it's obviously a Model 3 clone, but the screen is substantially smaller. Incidentally, I suspect Tesla made the Model 3/Y interior so minimalist to save money - not just to be different. When you're trying to become profitable on EVs, every dollar counts.
  • SCE to AUX "there haven’t been a lot of good examples hitting the market recently. Most models are aimed at the affluent, resulting in 9,000-pound behemoths with six-figure price tags"I hope you were joking, because that is blatantly false.