September's new car sales figures are out at the stats paint a grim picture
6 October 2008

The sales figures for the all-important September plate-change have just been released, but most manufacturers will be wishing that they hadn’t been.

Across all segments, sales were down by a whopping 21.2 per cent, or almost 90,000 units compared to September 2007, making this the worst single fall ever recorded.

The news was made worse by the fact the figures show a big swing from profitable large cars to low-margin small ones, with both SUVs and luxury cars down by over 40 per cent, while sales of city cars grew by 17 per cent.

The hardest hit manufacturer was Chrysler, with sales across the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands dropping by 56.3 per cent. Renault endured an even worse month, dropping 50.8 per cent compared to the same month last year – a fall of over 10,000 units.

Indeed, the combined French decline of over 21,000 units in a single month accounted for 23.7% of the total sales fall. At last week’s Paris Show, Renault boss Carlos Ghosn said that these were the worst conditions since 1929 – and these figures confirm his view.

While it is no surprise that sales off off-roaders are down, it is striking that manufacturers of smaller but less popular models are suffering just as badly.

Both Alfa Romeo and Saab are both down by more than 40 per cent, despite having lots of economical diesel models to choose from.

In terms of overall sales, Ford was the biggest loser. Its per centage fall of 23.04 per cent is relatively good against the rest of the market, but the company’s leading status in the UK market means that equates to 13,400 fewer vehicles being sold this September compared to last year.

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Amidst the gloom, bright spots are few and far between. Only three manufacturers showed a September sales improvement year-on-year. Audi will be delighted to have increased sales by 1.38 per cent while rivals BMW and Mercedes fell by 24.11 per cent and 9.15 per cent respectively.

Jaguar’s year-on-year increase of 3.38 per cent proves just how popular the new XF has been, while demand for city cars has boosted Smart’s numbers, the brand recording a 9.26 per cent increase.

Top five losersChrysler -56.3%Renault -50.8%Land Rover -49.7%Saab -46.2%Alfa Romeo -44.0%   Top five winnerSmart 9.3%Jaguar 3.4%Audi 1.4%Mazda -1.6%Kia -4.9%

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6 October 2008

Wow thats bad news. I know its only the UK's figures but this pattern must be being repeated all over Europe and America. I wonder if companies like Audi and BMW have considered this downturn in their sales forecasts. Its been well publicised that both companies plan to increase their sales by around 50% in the next few years. Surely no matter how many new AUDI "Sportbacks" or BMW "X-Uglies" they release, they cant fight against a shrinking market. I doubt even the rapidly growing markets in India and China will make that much difference.

6 October 2008

Sadly, the falling through of the anticipated six-figure equity withdrawal from re-re-financing my mock-Tudor pile and the family tax credits, now tax demand, what I were expecting from the Social means that I shall no longer be proceeding with my order for his and hers RR Phantoms, in baby blue and pink.

6 October 2008

Quattro, I'm sorry you're wrong. September figures show France up, Germany flat but still up year to date, whilst Spain, UK and USA down between a fifth and a third. Last three all had insane property booms.

Yes mainstream premium makers like BMW, Audi and Merc will all be hit badly, as the middle classes(upper-middle classes) get hit with their investments. The truly rich however seem immune. Ferrari says new California sold out till further notice. And Abramovich of Chelsea has just ordered a new giant yacht which has missile tracking radar. I think they know something. Good luck.

6 October 2008

Would be interesting to see what the used car market is like. A friend in the industry says it's business as usual - I suspect a lot of people who aren't buying new cars are buying cheaper second hand ones instead.

[quote horseandcart]Abramovich of Chelsea has just ordered a new giant yacht which has missile tracking radar.[/quote]

Perhaps BMW should offer this as an option on the X6?

7 October 2008

You can buy an awful lot of 3 year or older car and do an awful lot to it (even if u do land yourself a lemon), for the same price as a new one.

[quote Autocar]Across all segments, sales were down by a whopping 21.2 per cent, or almost 90,000 units compared to September 2007, making this the worst single fall ever recorded.[/quote]

I hope, but sincerely doubt, that this is at last 21.2% of people finally seeing sense and keeping their perfectly servicable cars on the road, buying pre-2001 to prevent themselves being taxationally raped or keeping a nice classic going...

Cars still seem to be getting heavier and less fun to drive than their predecessors, with a few notable exceptions. A dedication to not follow fashion, the opportunity to own something I'd seen in the motoring press but was unable to afford at the time and a desire to save money and avoid retrospectively applied tax are all things that appeal to me.

Something a bit hotter and a bit older, that's gone through the steepest part of it's depreciation curve and provides more smiles per mile than the majority of current opposition could be just the ticket in current financial climes...

Don't tell the other 78.8% though. They'll all want one...

7 October 2008

The headline is misleading. The figures you are quoting are registrations not sales. A tour of the fields near any car manufacturer/large dealer will show you the difference.

7 October 2008

And the times they are a chang'in.

Lightweight cars please, thank you. The old Toyota Starlet, rear wheel drive and under 900kg seems very inticing with a 4a-ge engine!! Performance, economy and lots of fun.

7 October 2008

The Jaguar result was interesting. I think they should drop all the other models and replace them with a Boxster / Cayman rival. (And make sure a manual gearbox is an option)

Sorry if some of you Jag fans are spilling your G and T's, but you never know, they could even make a profit if they looked fondly back at their past instead of trying to inhabit it. I'm 54 and years ago thought that I might want a jag by now, but it's never happened so I'm still getting my fix in Porsches. Might buy an Elise next.... Bugger growing up.


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