British output linked to fall in European registrations amid economic uncertainty

UK car production took a hit for the fifth month in a row in September as domestic demand fell by 14.2% to 31,421 units.

Production reached 153,224 units across the four weeks, a 4.1% decrease on September 2016, with exports also down by 1.1% to 121,803.

The UK’s year-to-date performance now totals 1,259,509 at the last count, which is 2.2% or 28,171 units down on the same point in 2016.

The impact of Britain’s slowing industry was reflected in European registration numbers, which fell by 2.2% to 1,461,683 vehicles.

The UK was among the worst hit, with registrations (which differ from the aforementioned sales) down by 9.3%, although Ireland, Denmark and Latvia saw even bigger falls, albeit as considerably smaller markets. More significant was Germany, Europe’s biggest market ahead of the UK, where registrations were down by 3.3%.

Despite the slump in UK output, figures from the last six years show that output still ranks significantly higher than the period of slow growth after the economic crisis. Since September last year, the UK has produced 1,694,663 vehicles, but even as recently as 2015 that number was closer to 1.5 million. The UK's output of engines has also grown in recent months, with production up by 3.9% in September compared with the month in 2016. Exports represented 51.3% of engine demand.

However, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders CEO Mike Hawes warns that this downward trend is an example of the damage to progress that recent economic uncertainty and changing automotive legislation, such as the new London T-charge and Oxford's potential ban on combustion engine cars, is causing. Before last year's Brexit vote, the UK's rate of progress was consistently breaking records.

“With UK car manufacturing falling for a fifth month this year, it’s clear that declining consumer and business confidence is affecting domestic demand and hence production volumes,” he said. “Uncertainty regarding the national air quality plans also didn’t help the domestic market for diesel cars, despite the fact that these new vehicles will face no extra charges or restrictions across the UK.

“Brexit is the greatest challenge of our times and yet we still don’t have any clarity on what our future relationship with our biggest trading partner will look like, nor detail of the transitional deal being sought. Leaving the EU with no deal would be the worst outcome for our sector so we urge government to deliver on its commitments and safeguard the competitiveness of the industry.”

Felipe Munoz, the global automotive analyst at JATO (the market trends company that supplied the European figures) labelled the UK’s performance as a key cause for the region’s downturn.

"As anticipated, European registrations are starting to slow down following their unprecedented run of strong results,” he said. “While a drop after such high levels of growth is not unusual, it is clear that the recent performance of the UK car market - one of Europe's most significant - is having a substantial impact on the European car market as a whole.”

Despite the overall decrease, SUV sales continued to defy the market with models such as the Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan continuing to grow in demand. The Qashqai is now Europe’s second best-selling car after the Volkswagen Golf with 195,060 registrations to the Golf’s 356,562 so far in 2017.

Munoz stated that “the segment reached a record market share of 31.6% in September, with 462,000 SUVs registered for the month - an impressive growth of 14.1%".

This increase has taken the year-to-date volume of SUVs across Europe to 3.47 million units, which is 553,000 units more than in the same period in 2016.

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Comments
9

26 October 2017

didnt the guy from Pendragon group state that we are at saturation point for new cars?. Or something like that? Perhaps the signalling by the Bank of England that interest rates might rise (which is done to provide economic certainty, as opposed to uncertainty) will make many car buyers reconsider the purchase until after the rate rises. Or the reports last night of stronger than expected uk growth being led by manufacturing could be an issue. 

must be Brexit then.

Spanner

26 October 2017

On the flip side it's a great time for a deal. Dealers are desperate for business and I note that VW is finally bringing PCP interest rates on used cars down to the same subsidised levels as new cars. The question is to buy now or hold off for the market to fall further. The only question buyers really have to ask is if their job is Brexit proof.

26 October 2017

....and unless the population keeps increasing new car sales will fall.

My mk1 Escort had an expected life of 9 years and 100,000 you can now nearly double that with a Focus and still have a useable car at the end

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

26 October 2017

So they're probably going to keep the one they've got. Even though EU6 compliant vehicles won't be affected in the upcoming Autumn statement, who knows what's down the line if we get a chancellor or PM that's an even bigger tree hugger who wants to make a name for themselves. On top of that you'll have cash strapped local authorities being given extra powers that 'could' eventually be extended to EU6 - who knows.

Then there's the thought that whatever the case, just due to the anti-diesel mindset being thrust on the nation by the media, if you are going to commit a large sum of cash to a new diesel it'll be worth no more than the neighbour's smoldering 04 plate Zafira a few years down the line.

26 October 2017

...just the dealers' storage fields are full with pre-registered cars and they've stopped accepting any more from the manufacturers

26 October 2017
Where does the shock sensation 14.2% fall in domestic demand come from? He later says 9.3%.

And how is an annual fall in domestic output of 2.2% a 'slump'?

26 October 2017

To confirm, 14.2% represents sales, 9.3% represents registrations

26 October 2017

It's one thing after another for the motorist so I'm glad its going "off a cliff". I'm certainly not buying anything new or nearly new. And they seem to have forgotton that they haver started the clock ticking in any case. Did they expect people to buy something that's going to be obsolete until the day before it goes obsolete. It's the beginning of the end for all things ICE in the UK and the poiliticians ain't helping.

29 October 2017
But everything to do with the sudden mad Anti-diesel propoganda. No matter what manufacturers and politicians claim, petrol cars burn more fuel than diesel cars. There are currently no executive electric cars which either have enough range or are affordable for most people. Tesla come close to range, but are way to expensive for most to consider. There is no point buying a new diesel at the moment as you cannot trust politicians not to extend any anti-diesel measures to the latest Euro 6 models. The most sensible thing to do is to just carry on running the economical diesel you already own until things become clearer.

30 October 2017

Part of the problem is the inflated prices that manufacturers charge ie. Jaguar are charging £126.00 for Jump Leads. Get a set at Halfords for £10.00, yes I know they will not have Jaguar printed on them.

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