Tag Archives: SMMT

UK new car market reports slower August as more buyers await new 67-plate

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  • New car registrations fall -6.4% in August to 76,433.
  • AFV demand surges 58.3% as more motorists switch on to alternative powertrains.
  • Year-to-date market holds steady, down -2.4%, with 1.64 million cars joining British roads in 2017.

SEE CAR REGISTRATIONS BY BRAND

The UK new car market reported its fifth consecutive month of decline in August, according to figures published today by SMMT. Registrations fell -6.4%, after a record August in 2016.

However, with more than 76,000 new cars registered, the performance still represents the third biggest August in 10 years.1 Year to date, the market remained broadly in line with expectations, down -2.4%, with 1,640,241 new cars joining British roads in the first eight months.

Superminis and small family cars remained the most popular types in August, accounting for more than half (58.3%) of registrations. However, SUVs, larger family cars and executives were the only segments to grow, up 7.9%, 2.2% and 1.1% respectively.

Meanwhile, more people chose to get behind the wheel of an alternatively fuelled vehicle (AFV) than ever before in the month, accounting for a 5.2% share of the market.2 Demand for petrol hybrid and pure electric battery powered cars increased substantially, up 74.9% and 62.5%, while plug-in hybrid registrations rose 38.5%. Conventional petrols grew 3.8% and diesels fell -21.3%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

August is typically a quiet month for the new car market as consumers and businesses delay purchases until the arrival of the new number plate in September. With the new 67-plate now available and a range of new models in showrooms, we anticipate the continuation of what are historically high levels of demand.

Notes

  1. August 2016: 81,640; August 2015: 79,060; August 2007: 77,649
  2. The previous AFV record market share for August was 3.1% in 2016

Source: SMMT

 

British car manufacturing rebounds in July as new models hit production lines

  • UK car output rises 7.8% in July as manufacturers ramp up production with new models.
  • After seven months of decline in the domestic market, production increases 17.7% ahead of number plate change in September.
  • Year-to-date performance remains strong, with production passing the one million mark and in line with expectations.

British car manufacturing rose 7.8% in July, with 136,397 new units rolling off UK production lines, according to figures released today by SMMT. Major carmakers ramped up production for new and existing models in the month ahead of summer factory shutdowns, which provide an essential period for plant maintenance, upgrades and re-tooling.

Production for the UK bounced back in July, in readiness for the important September market, following seven successive months of decline, rising 17.7% – an increase of 4,490 units – while exports also grew by 5.3%. Cars made for overseas buyers represented nearly 80% of output in the month with 106,525 units shipped abroad, compared with 29,872 which stayed at home.

Year-to-date new car production remains solid and has now passed the one million mark, though showing a slight dip of -1.6% compared with 2016, in line with expectations. Since January, overseas customers have taken delivery of 78.8% of new cars made in Britain, with UK manufacturers now exporting cars to more than 160 different countries around the world.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

UK car production lines stepped up a gear in July, as usual bringing forward some production to help manage demand ahead of September and routine summer factory shutdowns. As the timing and length of these manufacturing pauses can shift each year, market performance comparisons for July and August should always be treated with caution, but as long as the economic conditions at home and abroad stay broadly stable we expect new car production to remain in line with expectations for the rest of 2017.

Source; SMMT

SMMT Brexit Update

 

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The latest round of negotiations over the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU began in earnest this week. Europe’s leaders have been clear that sufficient headway must be made on exit terms before talks on future trade can begin, so UK business will hope for swift and sure progress.

To that end, it is pleasing to see both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor meeting with industry groups this week. Commentators are beginning to see business as increasingly influential in any future agreement – as well they should. Business operations are often determined by EU rules and many firms are also well versed in the minutiae of trading within the EU and without.

Yesterday Theresa May’s new business advisory group met for the first time to discuss concerns around the UK’s withdrawal. Meanwhile, Phillip Hammond, speaking to the CBI on Monday, noted that Brexit is just one in a series of issues facing Europe and the Eurozone and called on businesses to stress the need for agreement on key issues to their continental colleagues and partners.

The truth is that those operating within global and European supply chains see the necessity of a deal most clearly. Therein much of the trouble could lie – the flow of goods across Britain and Europe will need to be maintained while clarity over regulation and continued participation in existing EU trade deals with key international markets must be assured. Yet more reason automotive must be considered a priority sector throughout the Brexit process.

SMMT continues to reiterate its priorities for Brexit and to advise government on the complex rules and regulations with which the motor industry must comply. More information on the industry position is available on our website at www.smmt.co.uk/brexit.

Britain’s trade with Europe will not cease. It’s competitveness, however, will be threatened. UK companies’ expertise and quality products will continue to attract global customers but the cost of those products and services is harder to forecast.

Soure: Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive

Carmakers call for transitional EU deal

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The government must secure a transitional Brexit deal to protect the future of the UK car industry, a trade group has said.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said Britain was highly unlikely to reach a final agreement with the EU by the March 2019 deadline.

That meant carmakers could face a “cliff edge”, whereby tariff-free trade was sharply pulled away.

It warned the industry would suffer without a back-up plan in place.

The EU is by far the UK’s biggest automotive export market, buying more than half of its finished vehicles – four times as many as the next biggest market.

UK car plants also depend heavily on the free movement of components to and from the continent.

The SMMT said any new relationship with the EU would need to address tariff and non-tariff barriers, regulatory and labour issues, “all of which will take time to negotiate”.

“We accept that we are leaving the European Union,” said chief executive Mike Hawes.

“But our biggest fear is that, in two years’ time, we fall off a cliff edge – no deal, outside the single market and customs union and trading on inferior World Trade Organization terms.

“This would undermine our competitiveness and our ability to attract the investment that is critical to future growth.”

He called on the government to seek an interim arrangement, whereby the UK stayed in the single market and customs union until a new relationship was brokered.

UK car manufacturing generated £77.5bn of turnover last year and accounted for 12% of all goods exports, according to the trade group.

It added that almost a million people were employed across the wider automotive industry.

Source: BBC News

Record first quarter for UK used car market

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  • 2.1 million used cars sold in the UK in Q1 2017, a 3.4% rise on 2016, and the highest Q1 on record.1
  • Growth seen across diesel, petrol and electric/hybrids, up 5.6%, 1.6% and 43.2%.
  • Mini segment sees biggest growth, up 13.2%, but supermini still has most sales with 728,145.

The UK used car market got off to a strong start in 2017 with a record number of vehicles sold in the UK in the first quarter, according to data released by SMMT. 2,133,956 used cars changed hands in the first three months of the year, 3.4% more than in 2016 resulting in the biggest-ever volume seen in Q1.

Diesel and petrol sales remained steady, with gains of 5.6% and 1.6% respectively. Of the 851,569 used diesel cars sold in Q1, one in five were the latest low emission Euro 6 models. More motorists also took advantage of the wide range of alternatively fuelled hybrid, electric and hydrogen cars entering the second hand market, with registrations rising 43.2% to 21,320 units. This segment accounted for 1.0% of the market, compared with 0.7% last year.

The supermini segment continued to be the most popular, accounting for more than a third of the used car market, however, the mini segment was the fastest growing – with sales up 13.2%.

While silver remained the best-selling colour at 463,959 sales, figures show its popularity may be fading with sales declining -2.1%. White cars saw the biggest growth, up 17.1%, with used car sales echoing trends seen in the new car market in recent years.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

A buoyant used car market combined with strong residual values is good news for the sector, with motorists benefitting from the wide range of models and high-tech safety and connected features entering the market. Diesel cars remain as popular as ever, with consumers now able to take advantage of the low emission Euro 6 diesels available in the used car market. It’s also positive to see sales of used electric and hybrid vehicles rise, reflecting what we have seen in the new car market. To ensure this growth is maintained and the benefits of low emission vehicles spread quickly throughout society, continued investment in infrastructure, incentives and a tax regime that encourages demand is essential.


Notes
1 SMMT used car sale records begin 2001. Second highest Q1 on record is 2016 with 2,063,674.

Greg Clark’s Vison for the UK to become an Innovator in Automotive Technology

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On Tuesday, less than two weeks after Business Secretary Greg Clark outlined his vision for the UK as a CAV test bed to an SMMT Connected audience, he joined Transport Minister John Hayes in announcing how £109 million will be invested to help create the next generation of cutting-edge vehicles.

Along with a significant financial commitment from industry, government has backed 38 connected, autonomous and low emission vehicle technology projects across Britain, through the CAV2, OLEV and Advanced Propulsion Centre funding competitions. As ever, the winners exemplify the diversity of R&D taking place within the UK. We eagerly await announcements for the CAV3 competition later this year.

The UK is already a hotbed of innovation and we want to be the destination of choice for the development and testing of connected, autonomous and low emission vehicles. Government collaboration and investment, combined with funding from industry, will help this technology flourish and the UK to reap substantial economic and social benefits.

Following last week’s news that diesel cars are proving more popular than ever, SMMT set out to put the record straight on their contribution to air quality, climate change and the functioning of the national economy and society. Delivering only one side of the argument does a disservice to consumers, who must make a decision about which vehicle is right for their driving needs. For many, especially those that cover high miles, the answer will still be a new, Euro 6 emissions standard diesel. These modern cars, which contribute greatly to reducing CO2 emissions, are the cleanest diesels ever produced and, importantly, they will not be subject to charges in the new London Ultra Low Emission Zone.

There remains much more to discuss for UK Automotive as the year goes on and Brexit negotiations begin. The SMMT International Automotive Summit, launched this week, sees a return to the stage of last year’s lively Brexit panel, including Chris Giles, Economics Editor at the FT, and Bronwen Maddox, Director of the Institute for Government. Further sessions will focus on supply chain and retail, as well as the ever-important topic of sustainability, coinciding with the 18th edition of SMMT’s annual Sustainability report. Make sure Tuesday 20 June 2017 is in your diary and then get your tickets here.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive
Follow @SMMT on Twitter

Source: Mike Hawes 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

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

SMMT statement in response to the Prime Minister’s speech on Brexit

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SMMT has released a statement today, Tuesday 17 January 2017, in response to Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech on Brexit.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

The recognition by the Prime Minister of the importance of single market arrangements for the automotive sector is critical. We need government to deliver a deal which includes participation in the customs union to help safeguard EU trade, trade that is tariff-free and avoids the non-tariff and regulatory barriers that would jeopardise investment, growth and consumer choice. Achieving this will not be easy and we must, at all costs, avoid a cliff-edge and reversion to WTO tariffs, which would threaten the viability of the industry.

In December 2016 SMMT hosted a roundtable discussion chaired by David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, on the future for the UK automotive sector following Brexit. The event took place at SMMT’s headquarters in London and was also attended by John Hayes, Minster of State, Department for Transport and Nick Hurd, Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. You can read more about the discussion here.

Read more about the UK automotive sector’s relationship with Europe

Source: SMMT

 

Widest ever choice of listening for UK motorists as 2.3 million new car buyers tune into digital radio in 2016

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More than eight out of 10 new cars registered in 2016 featured the latest digital radios, according to figures published by SMMT. Last year, 2.28 million cars hit the roads with the kit fitted as standard – the first time the 2 million milestone has been reached.

Over the past five years, the number of newly registered cars factory fitted with digital radio has increased more than four-fold, thanks to major investment by manufacturers. In 2012, just over a quarter of new cars featured the systems as standard, compared with 84.5% in 2016. Motorists who opt for a car with DAB can now enjoy more than 400 digital radio stations.

The government has committed to switching off the UK’s analogue radio signal when DAB coverage reaches 50% of radio listeners, but no date has been set yet.1

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

With increasing numbers of DAB-enabled vehicle models on the market, and new car registrations at record levels,2 more car owners than ever before are now able to tune into digital radio as they drive.

While vehicle manufacturers have already shown they are committed to the digital revolution, the setting of a confirmed switch to digital date by government would considerably accelerate conversion of existing vehicles in use. This remains a sizeable job and, consequently, a significant opportunity for the aftermarket.

  1. Current share of all radio listening via digital platforms is 45.5%: RAJAR data, Q3 2016.
  2. A record 2,692,786 new cars were registered in the UK in 2016.

Source: SMMT

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