By on February 4, 2011

The new year doesn’t start well for UK auto sales. New car sales on the islands are down 11.5 percent for January. This is the gist of data given by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) to UKPA (via Google). The society is not surprised, said they expected it, and that the decline was in line with its forecast.

Again, we have a victim of the withdrawal of cash for clunkers, in the UK lovingly called ”bangers for cash” (as in “bangers and mash”, get it, get it?) People who scrapped an at least 10 year old car and bought a new one received £2,000 ($3,200). No more.

In January last year, almost one in five new cars were sold through the scrappage scheme, which distorts the comparison with a now bangers for cash free market. The SMMT said it expected the knock-on effect to continue rattling the market during the first six months of 2011. Only 128,811 cars changed hands in January in the UK.

There was no uniform cash for clunkers program in Europe. Some countries had one, some did not. Some gave more, some less. Some ended when the budgeted money was gone, some phased the program out. The effects of these programs will continue to influence the European market for a while. The programs were largely financed by forgoing VAT which would not have been earned anyway if no cars would have been bought.

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2 Comments on “The UK In January 2011: Car Sales Down 11.5 Percent...”


  • avatar
    Diesel Fuel Only

    Imagine having no domestic automakers of any significance to cater to when making policy – yes their are UK auto plants, but they are by and large foreign-owned (I think that the best selling cars in the UK, by far, are the Polo and the Golf).

    Full disclosure, I have a Golf TDI.

    And imagine no domestic auto industry to “rescue” as part of your economic recovery strategy.
    You must then go in hitherto uncharted directions.

    Nevertheless, the UK car culture continues strong, as Top Gear and rallying events and the prevalence of “hot hatches” can attest.

    • 0 avatar

      There’s still a lot of car manufacturing jobs in the UK, is it better or worse that the companies are not domestic ? Nissan, BMW, Tata and co. could demand concessions and grants in a manner a domestic could not, and threaten to take the jobs to another country if they didn’t get their desire. There’s little fear of public backlash either … Peugeot pulled out of the UK because they could get lower wages and more grants in Eastern Europe, and it probably didn’t affect their sales numbers at all.

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