2009 worst year for motor industry

Last year was the worst year for the UK motor industry since 1995, according to latest figures by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Throughout 2009, registrations of new cars fell 25.9 per cent in the first six months of the year but rose by 21 per cent, or 185,728 units, in the second half following the introduction of the Scrappage Incentive Scheme. Overall, full-year registrations were down 6.4 per cent to 1,994,999 units.

However, a surge in demand for new vehicles last month saw new car registrations rise by 38.9 per cent to 150,936 units. The scrappage scheme is estimated to represent 20.8 per cent of this rise, with over 280,000 units going through the scheme since its launch in May.

As the scheme draws to a close, the overall new market is forecast to fall back below 1.8 million units in 2010. The trend in falling emissions for average new CO2 emissions continued with a 5.4 per cent drop in new car CO2 emissions on the 2008 level.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive said: ‘The December new-car market was boosted by the Scrappage Incentive Scheme and consumers looking to avoid January’s VAT increase. The 2009 market of 1,994,999 new car registrations was significantly above early expectations and reflects the positive impact of the scheme, due to end in February.

‘Another tough year awaits the UK motor industry in 2010, with new car registrations expected to be below 2009 levels and only limited recovery in the van and heavy-commercial-vehicle markets. Sustaining the progress made in the latter part of 2009 will require stronger demand from fleet and business buyers, alongside the greater availability and affordability of credit and finance.’