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It has been reported that new car registrations took a fall of 4.4 per cent to 1.94 million in 2011, with the lowest number of registrations recorded in more than a decade – but manufacturing of new cars within the UK hit 1.35 million cars.
In December, a 3.7 per cent drop in new cars sales was recorded in comparison to the same month in 2010. However, UK car production has continued to rise in the past six months, with diesel and non-petrol cars continuing to gain market share according to the Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders (SMMT).
Northern Ireland was reported today as being the region which has been worst hit, with car registrations falling by 11.7 per cent in 2011 to just 47,229 vehicles, according to reports from the SMMT. This rate is more than double the decline of the UK as a whole.
Paul Everitt, SMMT’s chief executive said: “2011 proved to be a challenging year for the UK motor industry. Weak economic growth will make trading conditions tough in 2012.”
The drop in buying figures for new cars has been cited on a combination of high fuel prices, falling incomes and a drop in consumer confidence. Buyers are turning to used cars in a bid to save some money in tough economic times.
As a result, there has been a notable rise in the sales of city cars and superminis as buyers look for cheaper alternatives to fuel and running costs. More people are abandoning larger cars in an attempt to save on fuel and there are plenty of excellent second-hand cars which are perfectly suited to both business and pleasure.
Although the sales in new cars has fallen, the UK’s motor industry is still showing signs of growing healthily in the following 12 months. In 2011, around 1.35 million cars were made in the UK which was a significant increase to less than one million cars in 2009.
Another reason for the fall in UK car sales in the past year has been linked to the government’s car Scrappage scheme which was introduced in 2010 and subsidised new car purchases substantially.
“2011 has indeed been a challenging year for the UK motor industry, and once again, it has business fleets to thank for purchasing nearly 60% of all new cars sold,” said John Lewis, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.
“The coming year could be even tougher and we expect fleet customers to continue to dominate the new car market.”