By on September 7, 2010

As I wrote a few days ago, European car sale figures aren’t looking too great. In fact, for want of a better phrase, they’re bloody awful. (Detailed numbers to follow at around Sept 15.)  The reason behind this drop is the detox from the high of “Cash For Clunkers”. Now that the artificial boost has gone (or is slowly dissipating) the market is coming back down to where it should be. And where it should be isn’t good news for auto manufacturers. In the UK, it’s just as bad. The SMMT reported a drop of 17.5 percent in new car registrations compared to August of last year. This is in line with the SMMT’s prediction that the second half of the year would be tough, to put it mildly. “New car registrations were down 17.5 percent in August and conditions will remain challenging through the rest for the year,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, “The industry enjoyed a better than expected first half of the year and despite the difficulties, SMMT is forecasting that new cars registrations will close just ahead of 2009 figures.” Shall we take at look at the winners and losers in the UK market for August 2010?

Generally, we look at Ford as a benchmark for how the European market is doing, however, this month is anomalous. Ford’s sales this month (compared to this time last year) were worse than market decline. Ford’s sales dropped a staggering 32.63 percent in the UK. I won’t even bother telling you about Chrysler, Dodge and Cadillac, the report is there for you to download, but trust me they were bad. Really bad. Meanwhile, over at General Motors, you’d think that things were just as bad, if not worse. Not so. Vauxhall’s sales were up (that’s right, up!) 8.98 percent.

European makers had a bit of a mixed bag. Fiat dropped 65.5 percent but Alfa Romeo was marginally better at a drop of 46.51 percent. The Frenchies also had mixed fortunes. PSA stayed relatively flat with Citroen only dropping 3.61 percent and Peugeot dropping sales by 0.26 percent. But Renault sales shot up by a whopping 58.32 percent. However, I have read that Renault is pushing fleet sales rather strongly. So take that figure with a pinch of salt. Again the Deutschlanders also had a mixed August. BMW sales increased slightly by 4.42 percent but VW branded cars’ sales increase dropped 12.87 percent. Audi also dropped, but not by much, only 3.73 percent. SEAT also dropped by 19.31 percent. But never fear! Volkswagen’s other brand was there to ensure it wasn’t all bad news. Skoda posted a 6.82 percent sales gain. Over at Daimler, Mercedes-Benz saw sales rise by 22.47 percent.

Now, over to the Orient and things aren’t so peachy there, either. Everyone’s favourite kicking post at the moment, Toyota, lost sales by 44.02 percent. Lexus? They dropped 27.10 percent. And what of the always forgotten brand, Daihatsu? Try a sales drop of 97.69 percent. The 120 dealers I could find on the Daihatsu website in the UK sold only 3 cars for the entire August! Honda also posted a poor month seeing sales plunge 30.35 percent. Mitsubishi? They dropped 34.90 percent. Suzuki? They dropped 43.63 percent. But it wasn’t all bad news for the Japanese. Nissan only posted a  1.15 percent drop, but Mazda saw sales increase by 4.35 percent. It’s not much, but I bet they wouldn’t want to swap sales with any of their Japanese brethren. Now here is the point when I bet you’re expecting me to say how the South Koreans are swiping sales from the Japanese, right? Wrong. They had just as bad an August. Kia dropped 33.94 percent but the prize for the Oriental sales chump of the month goes to, astonishingly, Hyundai. Guess how much their sales dropped? 59.78 percent.

So overall, it was pretty dire in the UK for August. Will September be any better? I’m guessing not. You can click here for a spreadsheet of the full sales figures for the UK. See you next month for the sales figures of a car market that nobody cares about!

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4 Comments on “UK Car Sales For August 2010: Geronimo!...”

  • avatar
    Tricky Dicky

    Hi Cammy. Are buyer’s holding back for the 6 month reg plate changeover in September perhaps? Does the bi-annual incremental change on reg plate numbering still have as big an effect on the UK market as it used to do when there was an annual reg plate change?

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      Tricky Dicky,
      That’s a very good point. I’ll bear that in mind for next month, if we have any increases, but I’m not hopeful.
      The UK is going through some painful (well needed) cuts so everyone is cutting back spending and saving money. Which, in the long term, is a good thing. When did fiscal prudence become so unfashionable? Also, the car market is due a massive correction and the bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler would have rectified that. But let’s not dwell on that.
      Also, if people don’t spend money on cars, that means imports for the UK will drop and help address our trade deficit.
      In fact, this plunge in the car market is actually good news!

  • avatar

    Not exactly fair to illustrate the article with a picture of a Proton showroom. They’re never exactly buzzing, even during scrappage schemes.

  • avatar

    if people don’t spend money on cars, that means imports for the UK will drop and help address our trade deficit. I bet they wouldn’t want to swap sales with any of their Japanese brethren.
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