Deloitte SMMT figures comment
5 March 2015
Commenting on the latest car registration figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which show a 12.0% increase to 76,958 units compared with February 2014, David Raistrick, UK Automotive Leader at Deloitte said:
“The run of monthly comparative growth began back in March 2012 and has now reached three years without, on the surface, any immediate signs of coming to an end. However, there was an indication in January that, whilst the total new car sales maintained the trend, the momentum provided by the private consumer may be running out of steam. Indeed, the 5.1% fall in sales was the first comparative monthly fall since October 2012 and taken with today’s figures, it suggests that 2015 will require a boost from the business and fleet sector to maintain the good news story.
“The continued rise of salary sacrifice schemes plays a part here and is one of the primary growth areas in the fleet sector. Ever-increasing numbers of employees opting to take a new vehicle rather than purchasing a replacement car from the used car market.
“There are a number of factors which will be affecting the private market, the most obvious one being the number of new cars sold over the past three years. With increasing numbers of these sales being on finance and personal contract purchase plans, with minimum terms usually being 24 months, the significant number of private sales over the last 2 years will have taken many private buyers out of the current market.
“This year also has seen significant new model announcements from major manufacturers which may have persuaded those private buyers to delay until the launch of the 2015 version of their preferred vehicle. The effect of the forthcoming election also cannot be underestimated as this will be in the consumer’s mind, much as it is within the business community, with any uncertainty potentially leading to buying decisions being put on hold.
“Finally, whilst it must be remembered that total new vehicle registrations cannot keep increasing forever, the current level is a strong indicator of a very healthy sector. Flat, or even slightly negative, growth for the year as a whole should not be a cause for concern and is still a positive result for 2015. The UK new car market has, for the past three years, acted as a barometer for the recovery of the UK economy and consumer confidence. It appears that the business and fleet sector may be the key to this being maintained.”
Notes to editors
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The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.
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