By on October 6, 2010


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.

UK New car sales, September 2010

SEPTEMBER % Change YEAR TO DATE % Change
MARQUE 2010 % market share 2009 % market share 2010 % market share 2009 % market share
Abarth 244 0.07 212 0.06 15.09 1,154 0.07 973 0.06 18.60
Alfa Romeo 1,571 0.47 1,978 0.54 -20.58 6,106 0.37 7,135 0.47 -14.42
Aston Martin 124 0.04 160 0.04 -22.50 845 0.05 936 0.06 -9.72
Audi 15,889 4.74 15,117 4.11 5.11 81,739 5.00 72,385 4.77 12.92
Bentley 141 0.04 99 0.03 42.42 806 0.05 625 0.04 28.96
BMW 18,673 5.57 19,526 5.31 -4.37 82,049 5.02 74,229 4.89 10.53
Cadillac 3 0.00 8 0.00 -62.50 23 0.00 105 0.01 -78.10
Chevrolet 2,274 0.68 2,955 0.80 -23.05 11,223 0.69 14,792 0.98 -24.13
Chrysler 289 0.09 681 0.19 -57.56 1,184 0.07 2,086 0.14 -43.24
Citroen 12,856 3.83 13,688 3.72 -6.08 59,218 3.62 53,838 3.55 9.99
Corvette 0 0.00 1 0.00 -100.00 2 0.00 36 0.00 -94.44
Daihatsu 29 0.01 284 0.08 -89.79 165 0.01 2,080 0.14 -92.07
Daimler 0 0.00 0 0.00 0.00 2 0.00 17 0.00 -88.24
Dodge 211 0.06 773 0.21 -72.70 737 0.05 2,111 0.14 -65.09
Fiat 9,366 2.79 11,712 3.18 -20.03 43,858 2.68 42,294 2.79 3.70
Ford 46,389 13.84 54,553 14.83 -14.97 230,426 14.09 249,076 16.42 -7.49
Honda 12,176 3.63 14,750 4.01 -17.45 52,275 3.20 60,836 4.01 -14.07
Hummer 3 0.00 0 0.00 0.00 4 0.00 44 0.00 -90.91
Hyundai 8,431 2.51 11,031 3.00 -23.57 51,815 3.17 40,578 2.67 27.69
Infiniti 26 0.01 24 0.01 8.33 121 0.01 24 0.00 404.17
Jaguar 2,929 0.87 3,360 0.91 -12.83 13,133 0.80 13,948 0.92 -5.84
Jeep 383 0.11 560 0.15 -31.61 1,614 0.10 1,825 0.12 -11.56
Kia 8,257 2.46 9,778 2.66 -15.56 47,523 2.91 34,777 2.29 36.65
Land Rover 5,788 1.73 6,587 1.79 -12.13 30,790 1.88 22,074 1.46 39.49
Lexus 1,220 0.36 1,786 0.49 -31.69 5,326 0.33 6,252 0.41 -14.81
Lotus 29 0.01 54 0.01 -46.30 387 0.02 355 0.02 9.01
Mazda 8,611 2.57 11,289 3.07 -23.72 37,810 2.31 36,058 2.38 4.86
Mercedes-Benz 14,426 4.30 12,690 3.45 13.68 59,220 3.62 53,645 3.54 10.39
MG 32 0.01 61 0.02 -47.54 250 0.02 265 0.02 -5.66
MINI 7,567 2.26 8,634 2.35 -12.36 32,820 2.01 29,790 1.96 10.17
Mitsubishi 2,691 0.80 2,287 0.62 17.67 9,810 0.60 8,599 0.57 14.08
Nissan 15,767 4.70 16,142 4.39 -2.32 71,178 4.35 57,447 3.79 23.90
Opel 0 0.00 0 0.00 0.00 0 0.00 0 0.00 0.00
Perodua 99 0.03 85 0.02 16.47 640 0.04 432 0.03 48.15
Peugeot 18,309 5.46 18,440 5.01 -0.71 89,234 5.46 79,172 5.22 12.71
Porsche 618 0.18 472 0.13 30.93 4,969 0.30 3,894 0.26 27.61
Proton 89 0.03 146 0.04 -39.04 639 0.04 773 0.05 -17.34
Renault 14,225 4.24 10,354 2.81 37.39 75,791 4.63 41,365 2.73 83.22
Saab 1,212 0.36 1,093 0.30 10.89 4,177 0.26 6,656 0.44 -37.24
SEAT 5,382 1.61 5,628 1.53 -4.37 26,152 1.60 22,773 1.50 14.84
Skoda 5,463 1.63 6,301 1.71 -13.30 32,527 1.99 25,412 1.68 28.00
smart 1,405 0.42 1,268 0.34 10.80 6,355 0.39 6,138 0.40 3.54
Ssangyong 14 0.00 152 0.04 -90.79 220 0.01 666 0.04 -66.97
Subaru 648 0.19 863 0.23 -24.91 3,078 0.19 2,745 0.18 12.13
Suzuki 4,557 1.36 5,371 1.46 -15.16 17,701 1.08 22,647 1.49 -21.84
Toyota 14,636 4.37 21,179 5.76 -30.89 71,947 4.40 79,954 5.27 -10.01
Vauxhall 42,235 12.60 41,255 11.21 2.38 198,623 12.14 187,892 12.39 5.71
Volkswagen 24,701 7.37 28,181 7.66 -12.35 138,211 8.45 122,501 8.08 12.82
Volvo 4,965 1.48 6,192 1.68 -19.82 29,910 1.83 23,180 1.53 29.03
Other British 94 0.03 32 0.01 193.75 866 0.05 640 0.04 35.31
Other Imports 199 0.06 137 0.04 45.26 1,006 0.06 964 0.06 4.36
Total 335,246 367,929 -8.88 1,635,659 1,517,039 7.82

Source: SMMT

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5 Comments on “UK Car Sales For September: Oh For Goodness Sake!...”


  • avatar
    PaulieWalnut

    “The Ford Fiesta remains the best selling model in the UK, which will do our balance of trade with Spain and Germany no favors.”

    Well at least the engines are made in the Bridgend and Dagenham. Considering how many Fiesta’s are being sold in the rest of Europe, I’d suspect the UK is doing pretty well out of exporting Fiesta engines.

    As for Renault’s recent success, they’re being heavily driven by huge incentives aren’t they? Citroen tried that a couple of years ago. Residuals cratered and they haven’t recovered since.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Don’t worry Cammy, I’m sure Herr Schmitt is getting bored of writing “Up”, “Increased” and “Sky-rocketed”.
    Out of interest, with new car sales heading south, what about used car prices in the UK? Can you still pick up taxed and tested bangers at auction for a hundred quid?

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      Hi, SinisterMisterMan,
       
      Funnily enough, a friend of mine who helps me write my stuff did some research on used car prices the other day. He tried to find a clunker with an automatic transmission and a diesel engine. For £3k he had his pick of the bunch. Admittedly, they had 100k+ miles on them (almost certainly, ex-fleet cars) but if the adverts are to be believed, they work.
       
      Given that the next 5 years in the UK are going to be depressed due to the government cuts and companies trying to ride out depressed market, new car sales will stay low. Which can only mean one of two things:
       
      1. People will hold onto their cars for longer.
      or 2. When someone needs to buy a car, they’ll look to the used car market first.
       
      Both scenarios will have the same result. Used car prices will rise, either due to lack of new stock or increase of customers.
       
      I wish we had a Steven Lang for the UK to give you a better answer. I can’t do it because I simply don’t have the time or the knowledge to research the topic.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Why did the author say the UK market is one no-one cares about? GM and Ford both do better in the UK than any other European country. The UK is the second largest market in Europe and charges some of the highests prices (leading to good profitability). So I am sure plenty of Executives look at the state of the UK market.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Hmmm….
    62 million people in the UK = 1.6 million sales thus far in 2010
    310 million people in the US = 8.6 million sales thus far in 2010
     
    The difference doesn’t appear to be that much.

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