SMMT announces 12 per cent rise in new-car registrations

New-car registrations rose more than 12 per cent in October to 151,252 units, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

According to the automotive trade association, the new-car market increased five per cent over the year to date, growing in all but one month, totalling 1,771,861 units, or an increase of 83,823 units compared with a year ago.

Petrol, diesel and alternatively fuelled vehicle markets posted strong growth in the month and over the year to date, with most vehicle segments growing, notably the small-car and dual-purpose segments.

Consequently, the SMMT has revised up its forecast for the full year to more than two million units from 1.94 million in 2011.

‘Despite uncertainty in the European economy, the UK new-car market continues to grow,’ said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. ‘It is encouraging to see the alternatively fuelled vehicle market performing strongly — up 13 per cent so far this year.’

Welcoming today’s announcement, John Leech, KPMG UK head of automotive, said: ‘As expected, UK car production bounced back in October after a surprise decline of 5.8 per cent in September.

‘But despite troubles in Europe still posing a threat to demand, UK car plants are continuing to win market share across Europe and premium automakers are still benefiting from strong demand from the emerging markets.

‘We expect to see these trends follow this route over the next few years and therefore expect UK production to continue to grow on average by nine per cent per annum to 2.2 million vehicles in 2016.

Leech cautioned, however, that issues are emerging on the issue of supply-chain finance.

‘Many suppliers are starting to see volumes decline as eurozone demand crumbles, while some suppliers to premium automakers such as Jaguar Land Rover [JLR] are struggling to raise the finance necessary to invest in tooling for new models,’ he said. ‘As supplier cash pressures intensify, there is a need for banks and the finance industry to innovate and we expect new debt arrangements to be developed, which would bring together suppliers, automakers and banks in new contractual arrangements.’