Category Archives: Car Sales

UK car manufacturing falls in April, but YTD output remains strongest for 17 years

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  • Car output falls 18.2% as Easter bank holiday results in fewer manufacturing days.
  • Year-to-date production rises 1.0% to almost 600,000 units – the highest level since 2000.
  • SMMT calls for the newly elected government to prioritise UK Automotive needs to secure future growth.

UK car manufacturing fell in April, according to figures released by SMMT. 122,116 cars were made in the month, a 18.2% decrease on April 2016, as the late Easter bank holiday affected production.

Despite the decline, year-to-date production remains strong with 593,796 cars made so far in 2017 – a 1.0% increase on the same period last year – reaching its highest level for the first four months of the year since 2000.

Demand from overseas buyers continues to drive growth, up 3.5% so far this year and offsetting a fall at home of 7.0%. In total 76.8% of all cars made in the UK since January have been shipped abroad, with the majority going into the EU.

The news comes as SMMT publishes its priorities for the next government following the general election in June. UK Automotive Priorities, Securing the Strength of the UK Automotive Industry 2017 – 2022 sets out what is required to ensure the ongoing success of a crucial sector that supports 814,000 jobs nationwide, one that has a turnover of £71.6 billion every year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

“Car production fell significantly in April due to the later Easter bank holiday weekend which reduced the number of active production days that month and also due to unplanned production adjustments. Overall, British car manufacturing remains in good health with the production outlook still very positive and significant new models due to go into UK production shortly. To guarantee future growth and investment into our industry and its vital supply chain, however, we need the next government to safeguard the conditions that have made us globally competitive, keeping us open and trading and delivering an ambitious industrial strategy for our sector.”

UK Automotive Priorities 2017- 2022

  1. A globally competitive business environment to support investment, growth and job creation.
  2. A new trading relationship with the EU which safeguards the interests of UK Automotive.
  3. An ambitious industrial strategy delivering for automotive as a strategic sector.
  4. A holistic strategy to support sustainable mobility and ULEV uptake.
  5. Effective policies to ensure the UK secures the benefits of digitalisation.

Download UK Automotive Priorities, Securing the Strength of the UK Automotive Industry 2017 – 2022 here.

Source: SMMT

Records tumble as March UK new car market hits all-time high

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  • Market rises 8.4% in March to become the biggest ever month for the sector – 562,337 new cars registered.
  • Registrations jump 6.2% in Q1 2017 to 820,016 units – a new record quarter.
  • Consumers and businesses bring forward purchases to avoid new VED charges in place from 1 April 2017.
  • More diesel cars sold in March than any other single month.

SEE CAR REGISTRATIONS BY BRAND

The UK’s new car market grew by 8.4% in March, making it the biggest month since records began,1 according to SMMT figures. The record performance came as buyers seized the chance to buy cars before the new vehicle excise duty (VED) rates came into force. From 1 April, under the new system all new cars, except for those with zero emissions, are subject to an annual flat rate charge.

562,337 new cars were registered in March, more than double the number in the first two months of the year combined.2 820,016 new cars were driven off forecourts in the first quarter of 2017, up 6.2% on the same period in 2016 and setting a new record for the quarter.3

Following the recent trend, consumers are increasingly looking to invest in the latest low-emission technology, with March seeing a 31.0% surge in registrations of alternatively fuelled vehicles. Petrol cars experienced a notable uplift too, growing 13.2%, while demand for diesels also increased compared to the previous year, with nearly a quarter of a million buyers choosing them – the most ever in a single month.4

Fleets and businesses were the big contributors to market growth in March, with registrations up 12.6% and 11.9% respectively, though demand from private buyers also grew, with registrations climbing 4.4% to reverse the decline in demand seen during the previous month.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

These record figures are undoubtedly boosted by consumers and businesses reacting to new VED changes, pulling forward purchases into March, especially those ultra-low emission vehicles that will no longer benefit from a zero-rate fee. This bumper performance probably means we will see a slowdown in April, exacerbated by the fact there are fewer selling days this year given Easter timing. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, we still expect the market to cool only slightly given broader political uncertainties as there are still attractive deals on offer.

Notes 

 1 525,897 new cars registered in August 1997.

2 257,679 new cars registered in January and February 2017.

3 771,780 new cars registered in Q1 2016.

4 244,263 new diesel cars registered in March 2017.

Source: SMMT

17 year high for British car manufacturing as global demand hits record levels

  • 7 million cars built in the UK in 2016, an increase of 8.5% and the highest output for 17 years.
  • Exports at record levels for second consecutive year as more than 1.35 million cars shipped worldwide.
  • More than one in two cars exported to Europe, our single biggest trading partner, with demand up 7.5%.
  • Growth driven by multi billion pound investments in previous years – not post Brexit bounce.

UK car production achieved a 17-year high in 2016, according to the latest figures published by SMMT. 1,722,698 vehicles rolled off production lines last year from some 15 manufacturers,1 an 8.5% uplift on total production in 2015 – and the highest output since 1999.2

More cars are now being exported from Britain than ever before, the result of investments made over recent years in world-class production facilities, cutting-edge design and technology and one of Europe’s most highly skilled and productive workforces. Ten brand new car models began production in the UK last year, nine of them from premium brands which has helped make the UK the second biggest producer of premium cars after Germany and the third biggest car producer in Europe.3  Total committed investment annoncements in the automotive sector in 2016 were approximately £1.66 billion across a number of companies. This figure is down from  £2.5 billion in 2015.

Production growth was predominantly driven by overseas demand, with global appetite for British-built cars rising by 10.3% to an all-time high of 1,354,216 – a second consecutive annual record. Around eight out of every 10 cars manufactured in the UK is now exported, bound for one of 160 markets worldwide.

It was continuing economic recovery across Europe, however, that accounted for the bulk of the growth. Exports to the rest of the EU grew 7.5% to 758,680 and accounted for more than half of all UK car exports. Furthermore, Europe supplies the majority of components within UK-built vehicles, underlining the critical importance of tariff and barrier-free trade to future UK automotive production.

Growth was strong across a number of markets, notably the US – the UK’s biggest export destination after the EU – where demand rose by almost half (47.2%) meaning it now accounts for around 14.5% of all UK car exports. Notable uplifts were also seen in Turkey, Japan and Canada whilst China, third on the list of export markets, grew by a more modest 3.1% with 88,610 vehicles exported last year.

Domestic demand for UK built cars also grew last year, up 2.4% in the year, and the UK remains the second largest car market in Europe, again after Germany.4 One in seven new cars registered by UK buyers is now made in Britain, up from one in eight three years ago.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

The tremendous growth in UK production is testament to the global competitiveness of the UK automotive sector. High class engineering, advanced technology and a workforce committed to quality have helped turn around the industry, making the UK among the most productive places in Europe to make cars. Significant investment in new plants and products over the past few years has driven this growth, not a post-Brexit bounce. We want trade deals but they must be the right deals, not rushed deals. Failure to do so could damage UK automotive manufacturing beyond repair.

  1. The UK’s 15 manufacturing plants are owned by a range of independent and multi-national-owned companies: Aston Martin (Gaydon); Bentley (Crewe); Caterham (Dartford); Honda (Swindon); Jaguar Land Rover (Castle Bromwich, Solihull, Halewood); Lotus (Norwich); McLaren (Woking); Mini (Oxford); Morgan (Malvern); Nissan (Sunderland); Rolls Royce (Goodwood); Toyota (Burnaston); Vauxhall (Ellesmere Port).
  2. 1,799,004 cars were produced in the UK in 1999.
  3. New UK models starting production in 2016: Aston Martin DB11; Bentley Bentayga; Jaguar F-Pace; Infiniti Q30; Infiniti QX30; Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible; McLaren 540; McLaren 570; Rolls Royce Dawn; Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer.
  4. ACEA data for 2016.

White remains UK’s favourite new car colour but buyers heading back to black

  • White UK’s favourite new car colour for fourth consecutive year, but demand falls for the first time since 2005 – down -2.1%.
  • 2016 sees highest number of black cars registered in the UK since 2007 – 542,862.
  • Yellow back in top 10, with 12,431 cars registered – double the figure from five years ago.

White maintained its position as the UK’s most popular new car colour for the fourth year in a row in 2016, according to data released by SMMT. More than half a million new car buyers chose the colour last year – a fifth of all registrations – although figures show its popularity is starting to fade with demand falling -2.1%, the first drop since 2005.

White and black are the nation’s two favourite car colours – of the 2.69 million new cars registered in 2016, white (552,329) and black (542,862) took more than 40% market share. While white maintained its lead in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in England it was overtaken by black as the new car colour of choice.

Nationally, the third and fourth most popular colours were grey and blue, both gaining market share. Meanwhile, yellow cars appeared in the top 10 for the first time since 2013 at the expense of mauve, which dropped to 11th place.

Regionally, black topped the chart in the South East while also overtaking white as the favourite new car colour in East Anglia and the West Midlands. However, white continued to be most popular across the rest of the country, with buyers in the South West, East Anglia, East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North all following the national trend.

New car colours: Biggest winners and losers in 2016

Going up

  • Pink may still be a niche colour choice, but last year demand grew 82.7% to 3,527 units.
  • A 44% rise in demand for Bronze cars saw a record 8,902 people spec the colour in 2016.
  • Turquoise’s popularity grew fourfold last year, from just 792 registrations in 2015 to 2,718.

Going down

  • Is brown’s time in the top 10 coming to an end? Demand fell -40.1%, dropping it one place to ninth.
  • Appetite for beige fell -27.6% to under 10,000 for the first time since 2000 with 8,426 cars registered.
  • Silver saw the biggest volume decline, falling 22,209, with 273,220 buyers choosing it compared with 843,870 in its heyday back in 2004.

Source: SMMT

UK new car market achieves record 2.69 million registrations in 2016 with fifth year of growth

car-manufacturing


  • Highest ever number of new cars demanded by UK customers, with 2,692,786 registered in 2016, up 2.3% on previous year.
  • Wide choice of new car models and affordable finance deals drives market to new high with fifth consecutive year of growth.
  • December only the second month of negative growth in 2016, as registrations dip -1.1% to 178,022 units.

The UK new car market achieved another record year in 2016, with annual registrations climbing for the fifth year in a row to almost 2.7 million, according to figures published today by SMMT. The market has experienced uplifts in 10 out of the last 12 months, albeit finishing with a December down slightly by -1.1% – with 178,022 new cars registered in the month.

Buyers were attracted by a range of new car models and attractive finance deals, pushing registrations up to 2,692,786 in 2016 – up 2.3% on the previous year and broadly in line with expectations. The UK new car market is one of the most diverse in the world, with some 44 brands offering nearly 400 different model types – and 2017 looks set to be another competitive year with almost 70 new launches already planned over the next 12 months.

Fleets were responsible for most of the growth, with demand growing to a record 1.38 million units. The private market remains at a historically high level, with more than 1.2 million private buyers registering a new car in 2016, although demand did fall over the latter three quarters. The competitive range of affordable finance is a crucial factor driving private demand as consumers are able to take advantage of low interest rates and flexible payment options.

Diesel and petrol cars continued to be by far the most popular fuel types for consumers with market share at 47.7% and 49.0% respectively. However, alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) experienced a strong uplift in demand, up 22.2% across the year. Plug-in hybrids and petrol electric hybrids, in particular, experienced significant growth, with demand up 41.9% and 25.1% respectively. Meanwhile, more than 10,000 motorists chose to go fully electric in 2016 – up 3.3% on 2015.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said

Despite 2016’s political and economic uncertainties, the UK’s new car market delivered another record performance as car makers offered an incredible range of innovative and high tech models. 2017 may well be more challenging as sterling depreciation raises the price of imported goods but, with interest rates still at historic lows and a range of new models arriving in 2017, there are still many reasons for consumers to consider a new car in 2017. Looking longer term, the strength of this market will rest on our ability to maintain our current trading relations and, in particular, avoid tariff barriers which could add significantly to the cost of a new car.

Source: SMMT

 

1.6 million cars roll off UK production lines in first 11 months, as global demand reaches new high

car-manufacturing


  • UK car production grows 9.6% in the first 11 months to 1,613,495 units – its best performance since 1999.1
  • Exports seal another record, with 1,258,909 cars shipped to overseas markets in the year-to-date.
  • November output rises 12.8% to achieve 17-year high, with 169,247 vehicles rolling off production lines.2

UK car manufacturing output reached its highest level since 1999 in November, with almost 170,000 vehicles rolling off production lines, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Year-to-date volumes also achieved a 17-year high, with production in the first 11 months of the year rising to 1,613,495 units – already nearly 56,000 units ahead of year-end 2015.

Production for the home market was particularly strong in November, rising 14.0% to 33,745 units, while exports also saw robust growth, up 12.5%. In the year-to-date, output is up across the board, with domestic demand increasing 4.2% and exports enjoying an uplift of 11.1% to 1,258,909 – beating last year’s record by 2.5%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said

Made in Britain is a badge coveted by car buyers worldwide, and these latest figures highlight not just that international appeal but the fact that the UK is a globally competitive place to make cars. These latest results are the product of significant investments made over the past few years, but which will continue only if we can maintain the competitive trading conditions that have enabled the UK to become an automotive success story.

1 1,644,094 cars produced in the UK in the 11 months January-November 1999

2 171,584 cars produced in November 1999

Source: SMMT

 

Over 2 million registrations so far in 2016 as 66-plate drives new car market

SMMT_Master_Brandline_(RGB)

 


  • 469,696 new cars registered in plate-change September – a steady rise of 1.6% and the highest September on record.
  • Increased demand for diesels and alternatively fuelled vehicles, up 2.8% and 32.6% respectively.
  • Year-to-date total registrations grow 2.6%, with more than 2 million units registered so far this year.

The UK new car market remained steady in September, rising 1.6%, according to data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. 469,696 cars were registered, as buyers purchased the new 66-plate.

september-new-car-registrations-2000-to-present-chart

The performance marks the highest September on record, while the total number of cars registered so far this year also grew to  2,150,495 units – up 2.6% compared with the same period last year. It is only the second time that the two million mark has been passed in September since 2004.1

Fleet registrations continued to drive growth, up 7.3%, while registrations to private motorists experienced a small decline, down -1.7% to 223,844 units in the month. Meanwhile, diesel registrations rose 2.8% as petrols declined
-1.1%. Alternatively fuelled vehicles continued to outpace the market, up 32.6% against the same month last year with a market share of 3.4%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

September is always one of the biggest months for Britain’s new car market. The new 66-plate, combined with a diverse range of exciting new models featuring the latest technology, has certainly helped draw buyers into showrooms and many are taking full advantage of the attractive deals and low interest financing options on offer. Business and consumers place September orders many months in advance, so the ability of the market to maintain this record level of demand will depend on the ability of government to overcome political uncertainty and safeguard the conditions that underpin consumer appetite.

 

september_me

september_best-sellers

  1.  September 2015 recorded 2,096,886 units registered, the first time the 2 million mark was passed in September since 2004.

Source: SMMT

UK Automotive reports record £71.6 billion turnover and urges government to keep Britain open for business

 

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The UK automotive industry continues to make significant gains in employment, economic contribution and environmental performance, according to new figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The industry body’s 17th annual Sustainability Report reveals that the automotive manufacturing sector turned over a record £71.6 billion in 2015. Jobs, production output and vehicle sales all grew while the environmental impact of manufacturing saw significant reductions. Waste from production was cut by almost a quarter, and water and energy use per vehicle produced were also reduced.

Access to the single market and EU-negotiated international trade deals, the ability to recruit talent internationally and influence new standards have all helped make the UK automotive industry one of the world’s most competitive. This has helped attract billions of pounds in investment in recent years, delivering record productivity, job creation and growth.

The record turnover by automotive manufacturers represents a 7.3% increase on 2014, with the additional value generated for the UK economy standing at some £18.9 billion – itself a 3.8% rise on the previous year. Investment in R&D by the industry also reached a record high of £2.5 billion in 2015, which now represents some 12% of the country’s total R&D spend.

The figures are further evidence of the UK’s status as a global automotive leader, as production and sales of UK-built vehicles continue to grow both at home and abroad.2 The strong performance has been matched by growth in employment, with 814,000 people across the UK now dependent on the sector as a whole for a job – a substantial increase of 17,000 over the previous year. Those employed directly in manufacturing, meanwhile, grew from 161,000 to 169,000, with the average manufacturing worker generating more than £110,000 in value-added to the British economy.3

The sector’s strong social and economic performance has been achieved while simultaneously delivering substantial reductions in its environmental impact. 41% less waste was sent to landfill in 2015 than in the previous year, while the amount of water used to make each vehicle fell to a new low – down by 7.6%, driven largely by improvements in painting processes. Meanwhile, the average new car registered in 2015 emitted 121.4g/km of CO2 – 2.6% less than in 2014.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “UK Automotive has gone from strength to strength, and is now delivering record turnover, record productivity and more jobs. These strong results go hand in hand with a steadfast commitment to improving our environmental performance, which is clearly demonstrated through reductions in CO2, waste and water use.

“This success has been due to unrestricted access to the single market, input to EU legislation to safeguard the interests of UK Automotive, and the ability to recruit talent from abroad. Our growth depends on certainty and continued open and reciprocal access to the 100-plus markets with which the UK automotive industry so successfully trades. This is not just finished cars but components, technologies and the wider automotive value chain. Any risks and uncertainty to these fundamental benefits need to be addressed head on by UK government.”

Preserving and reusing valuable natural resources are major priorities for the automotive industry: notably, more than a third of all companies participating in the Sustainability Report now send no waste at all to landfill. Meanwhile, in February this year, SMMT launched a free recycling ‘take-back’ service to ensure owners of cars whose parent brand no longer operates in the UK can have their vehicle collected and recycled free of charge at the end of its life.4

With an estimated 5,000 vacancies across the industry currently unfilled due to a shortage of available skills, companies are investing heavily in developing the workforce of the future. Sustainability Report signatories alone reported an intake of 825 new apprentices in 2015, up from around 500 the previous year, while each employee across the sector received an average 2.9 days of training – a rise of 5.3%.

Today’s figures are the latest evidence of the UK automotive industry’s strong performance across all areas. Car manufacturing output is already up more than 10% so far in 2016, 2015 saw almost 1.6 million cars made here – the highest volume in a decade – while demand for both cars and commercial vehicles in the UK reached record levels with 2,633,503 million and 420,000 registrations respectively.2

SMMT recently revealed that its supply chain members plan to invest £225 million in new jobs, machinery and new product development in the next three years,5 underscoring the need for economic stability. Meanwhile, the UK’s vehicle service and repair sector was revealed as one of the most competitive in Europe, with British motorists spending £21.1 billion every year looking after their cars – 12% more than the global average – as they ensure their vehicles remain safe, efficient and in fine fettle.6

These developments mean the sector is well placed to meet increasingly stringent environmental targets, as well as take advantage of opportunities from emerging alternative fuel and connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.

Click here to download the full report.

Source: SMMT

Strong start to 2016 for HGV market as new registrations grow by a fifth

Strong start to 2016 for heavy truck market as new registrations grow by a fifth – SMMT

Strong start to 2016 for heavy truck market as new registrations grow by a fifth

  • New HGV market grows 19.2% in Q1 2016 with 10,363 units registered.
  • Demand for rigids over 16T fuels market growth with 48.1% increase.
  • Articulated segment declines -9.3%, driven by fall in demand for 3-axle units.

HGV Overview table

The new HGV (heavy goods vehicle) market in the UK grew by almost a fifth in the first quarter of 2016, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Continued business confidence resulted in more than 10,000 new commercial vehicles over six tonnes being registered in the first three months of the year, a 19.2% increase compared to Q1 2015.

Growth was driven by increased demand for rigids, specifically those over 16 tonnes which saw a 48.1% rise, offsetting a small decline in 3-axle artic registrations. Tractors were the most popular body type for HGVs in the first three months of the year, accounting for 38% of the heavy goods vehicles that hit British roads in Q1.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “This is a positive start to the year for the heavy truck market, with demand having stabilised following the regulatory upheaval seen in 2014. Large rigids saw more moderate growth than at the end of 2015 – a sign that the sector is set for a continued, steady period of growth.”

HGV Quarterly insight Top 5 body types chart

HGV registration by nation table

Source: SMMT

Export growth sees healthy rise for UK car production in April

  • UK car production makes further positive gains in April, up 16.4% with 149,334 units built.
  • Strong growth in manufacturing for export, with volumes up 23.7% in the month.
  • 588,024 cars built in 2016 so far – a 10.8% rise over the same period last year.

UK car manufacturing continued to make significant gains in April, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Almost 150,000 cars were built in the month, a 16.4% increase on April 2015, and marking the ninth consecutive month of growth.

Increasing overseas demand for British-built cars was again the driving force behind the growth: production for export jumped 23.7% in April, counterbalancing a 7.8% decline in cars made for the domestic market.

April’s figures bolster an already positive 2016 for UK car output, with 588,024 cars built in the first four months of the year – up 10.8% on the equivalent period in 2015.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Britain’s car manufacturing sector continues to thrive with a steady domestic market and surging demand from overseas, including our biggest export destination, Europe. This growth represents a significant endorsement of the strength and quality of the UK automotive industry.”

Car Manufacturing table

Source: SMMT