UK Car Sales For September: Oh For Goodness Sake!
It’s that time again. The time that I report on the market that no-one cares about. The UK. The SMMT has released the car registration figures today and as predicted, they fell, but not as much as other markets. The UK saw new car sales fall by only 8.9 percent, compared to, say, Italy. Overall, the UK market still remains 7.8 percent higher than last year (to date). The Ford Fiesta remains the best selling model in the UK, which will do our balance of trade with Spain and Germany no favors. Diesel cars and alternatively fuelled cars all posted growth in September. What was also telling about this “growth” was this little nugget of information: Private demand fell, while fleet demand increased. That’s right, while private customers are fleeing, car makers are trying to sustain volume by following the fleets. Shall we take a look the breakdown?
If you’re familiar with my UK car sales reports you’ll know that they are badly written and boring the American brands such as Cadillac, Dodge etc are always declining as they are fringe brands in the UK. So let’s jump straight to the mainstream ones. First up, Ford. They are the market leader in the UK, but the lead is slowly slipping. Ford notched up a sales decline of 14.97 percent. It seems those Fiestas aren’t enough to keep people in the Ford showrooms. Daewoo Chevrolet also posted a poor month with sales dropping 23.05 percent. Vauxhall, on the other hand, had a good month. A very good month. Sales rose 11.21 percent. Could the fleet sales be the answer to this anomaly? Vauxhall Insignias are very popular with fleets. Either way, I doubt GM will care.
Over to the Orient and, as per normal, Toyota is faring poorly. No reason to break out the For Goodness sake and celebrate. Toyota branded vehicle sales dropped a staggering 30.89 percent, while Lexus car sales fell even more, by 31.69 percent. Honda did better, but still poorly, falling only 17.45 percent. Nissan stays, relatively, flat, only falling 2.32 percent. Mazda also fell, with sales dropping 23.72 percent. Suzuki polished off an abysmal Japanese showing with sales falling 15.16 percent. It makes me wonder, that if it wasn’t for Suzuki’s strong performance in India, Suzuki would have gone under a long time ago. The only Japanese riser, astonishingly, was Mitsubishi. Their sales rose 17.67 percent. Over to South Korea and there wasn’t any good news there, either. Hyundai sales fell a whopping 23.57 percent while Kia dropped 15.56 percent. Maybe Hyundai’s marketing team in North America should give Hyundai UK a few pointers?
Let’s jump over The English Channel to France, where we have a mixed bag of results. Citroen sales dropped 6.08 percent, while Peugeot sales stayed flat, falling only 0.71 percent. Meanwhile, over at Renault, they’re happy. UK sales rose an impressive 37.39 percent. Over the (non-existent) border in Germany, we have another mixed bag of results. Volkswagen, over their mainstream brands, all posted losses, bar one. VW branded vehicle sales fell 12.35 percent, Skodas dropped 13.30 percent and, rather surprisingly, SEAT only fell 4.37 percent. The exception to all this was Audi, posting a rise in sales of 5.11 percent. In Munich, BMW didn’t have much of a good month with BMW cars falling 4.37 percent and Mini cars dropping 12.36 percent. The Cheshire cats of Germany were the Stuttgart squad, with Mercedes-Benz reporting a rise in sales of 13.68 percent. Even smart (smart?!) enjoyed an increase in sales of 10.80 percent.
In Italy, Sergio Marchionne didn’t have much to celebrate. Fiat branded car sales fell 20.03 percent, while Alfa Romeo dropped even more by 20.58 percent.
In short, it was pretty woeful and it won’t get any better any time soon. This is quite annoying as I’m hoping sales pick up pretty soon. I’m getting fed up of writing this column every month and only able to write words like “Dropped”, “Fell” and “Plunged”. For full details, click here for the full breakdown of the UK car sale figures.
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