2012 new car market tops two million hitting a four year high

Ford FiestaOfficial new car sales figures for the UK issued by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Trader show registrations rose 5.3% in 2012 to 2,044,609 units, boosted by strong consumer demand.

This was the highest annual volume since 2008 and recorded the largest percentage increase since 2001.  The growth in demand for new cards during 2012 was driven by a 12.9% rise in demand from retail customers.  However the new car market was still 14.9% below the 2007 pre-recession level of 2.4 million units.

Not only is the new car market starting to grow, it’s getting cleaner with average new car CO2 emissions falling to a new low of 133.1g/km which is 22.7% less than a decade ago.

Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive, said. “More than two million new cars were registered in the UK during 2012, up 5.3% on the previous 12 months and the best result since recession struck in 2008.” 

He added, “Boosted by strong consumer demand, the market grew at its fastest rate for 11 years with innovative, fuel-efficient cars keeping buyers in showrooms. Looking ahead to 2013, we anticipate the market will hold firm, with manufacturers and dealers working hard to deliver quality and value to motorists.”

Notable points:
Which sales sectors did best? Demand was strong for Mini/City Car +54.2%, Supermini +5.6% and Dual Purpose SUVs/4x4s +21.1%.
UK-built cars saw volumes rise 11.1% in 2012, boosting their market share to 13.5%.
Registrations of alternatively-fuelled cars rose 9.4% in 2012 achieving 1.4% market share, a new high.
Diesel cars took a record 50.8% market share, just up on 2011’s 50.6%.
The Ford Fiesta was the best selling model of 2012, retaining the position held since 2009.
As for 2013, the market is set to be challenging and the SMMT anticipates performance on-par with 2012.

Some winners and losers in 2012
Ford retained its market leadership with 281,917 new cars sold, a 6.0% increase. Vauxhall remained the second best selling brand overall with 232,255 sales but this was a 1.0% drop over sales in 2011.  In third place was Volkswagen with 183,098 sales and increase of 2.2%.

The South Korean brands of Hyundai and Kia continued to take sales away from European/Japanese brands.  Hyundai sales rose by 18.1% to 74,285 units and Kia by 24.2% to 66,629 units.

Land Rover sales rose by 29.2% to 48,626 registrations with demand driven by the Range Rover Evoque.  Jaguar’s UK registrations increased as well but only by 2.3% to 14,109 units.

BMW headed the premium brand sales league with 127,530 registrations, a 9.3% increase and their MINI sales also increased by 2.3% to 51,324 units.  Having led the sale of premium brand cars in the UK for the first 11 months of the year Audi were beaten at the post by BMW.   Audi still recorded record UK sales with 123,622 registrations, an increase of 8.6% over the previous record year of 2011.  Mercedes-Benz also showed significant improvement in demand with UK sales going up by 12.1% to 91,855 units.

The losers  were many for many reasons including a lack of new models, the poor value of the British Pound against the  Yen making imports from Japan expensive and the Japanese Tsunami which  restricted supply of parts and vehicles.  In no particular order those with the largest losses were Alf Romeo -37%, Lotus -58%, Maserati -20.3%, Mazda  -16.1%, Mitsubishi -33.4%, Proton -53.3%, Renault -40.4% and Subaru -23.2%.

The 2012 UK Top Ten New Car Sales League:
1 Ford Fiesta 109,265
2 Vauxhall Corsa 89,434
3 Ford Focus 83,115
4 Vauxhall Astra 63,023
5 VW Golf 62,021
6 Nissan Qashqai 45,675
7 BMW 3 Series 44,521
8 VW Polo 41,901
9 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 37,261
10 BMW 1 Series 34,488   Miles Better News Agency

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