Tag Archives: 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

 SMMT_Master_Brandline_(RGB)


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

Co-Star specialise in the supply of antennas to enhance the reception of DAB car radio. Click here for more information>

 

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

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  • 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

 

Eight out of 10 cars shipped overseas in October as export growth drives UK production

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  • UK car manufacturing dips -1.0% in October to 151,795 units as domestic demand falls.
  • Exports rise for 15th consecutive month, with 122,765 cars built for overseas markets, up 1.7%.1
  • Industry remains strong, up 9.2% year-to-date with more than 1.4 million vehicles produced.

car-manufacturing-table-october-16

UK car manufacturing dipped -1.0% in October, ending a 14-month run of growth for the industry, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.2

151,795 vehicles were built in the month, with production for export growing taking an 80.9% share of volumes. 122,765 cars were shipped to overseas customers, an uplift of 1.7% on the same month last year, and offsetting a -10.9% decline in production for the home market. Despite the fall, domestic demand remains strong, with production in the year so far up 3.3% and at its highest level since 2005.3 Overall production levels, meanwhile, achieved a 17 year record of 1,444,248 – up 9.2%.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said

October’s figures underline the export-led nature of the industry, with eight out of 10 cars built for overseas customers. Despite model changes which have ended the consistent growth pattern of the past year or so, we are still on track for a record number of exports.

Given this dependence on global trade, it is crucial that British-built cars remain attractive to international buyers and exports are not subject to additional tariffs, costs and other barriers to successful trade. It is also essential government ensures there is economic stability and a competitive business environment to ensure we continue to attract the global investment that is behind this performance.

car-output_rolling-year-totals-october-2016

  1. UK car export volumes have risen in every month since July 2015
  2. UK car manufacturing last fell in July 2015
  3. October 2005, when 363,513 units were produced for the domestic market

Source: SMMT

 

UK car exports pass the million mark in 2016

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  • UK car manufacturing volumes increase by 0.9% in September with 159,726 vehicles produced.
  • Overall output for first three quarters rises 10.5% as exports grow 12.2% to hit 1,000,642.
  • Overseas demand drives production, up 5.0% to 123,119 units, while home market falls -10.6%.

car-manufacturing-table-september-16

 

UK car manufacturing reported steady growth in September, with production rising by 0.9%, according to figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Exports rose 5.0% to reach 123,119 units, offsetting a -10.6% decline in production for the home market.

Overall year-to-date output increased 10.5% to 1,292,453 units, as production for global markets grew for a 14thconsecutive month. Export demand rose by 12.2% to take volumes past one million in the first three quarters for the first time on record.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

British-built cars are in demand across the world as demonstrated by the double digit growth in exports this year, resulting in more than a million cars produced for international markets. The vast majority of cars manufactured here in the UK are destined for abroad and future growth will depend on securing our international competitiveness and the barrier-free access to major global markets that has enabled UK Automotive to thrive.

 

Car output_rolling year totals June 2016

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.

 

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  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 car production hits 16-year high, as industry urges government to safeguard future

  • Double digit growth for UK car manufacturing in June as output rises 10.4% to 158,641 units.
  • Best half year performance since 2000, with 897,157 cars produced – up 13.0% on 2015.
  • Future growth uncertain, as SMMT survey highlights industry concerns over trade and investment after Brexit vote.

Car Manufacturing table June 16

UK car makers reported their 11th consecutive month of growth in June, according to figures released today by SMMT. Production grew 10.4% to 158,641 units – the highest level for the month since 1998, when volumes reached 172,232.

The performance closes the industry’s best first half for 16 years,1 with 897,157 cars rolling off production lines so far in 2016 – up 13% on the same period last year as billions of pounds of earlier investment in new models came to fruition. Exports drove volumes, with year-to-date demand up 14.9% to 695,139 units, while production for the domestic market also grew 7.1%.

UK Automotive is export-led, with 77.8% of cars built in the UK destined for more than 100 overseas markets, but the majority of which are headed for the rest of the EU. The sector is part of a complex, highly-integrated European and global supply chain, and depends on significant cross border trade in components. While local content of UK-built cars is growing, 59% of vehicle components are imported, predominantly from the continent.

That relationship with our biggest market is now uncertain and, as a survey of SMMT members just published shows, is of significant concern. 57.1% of respondents believe the outcome will have a negative impact on their business, while just 8.3% foresee it being positive. A further quarter (27.7%) are uncertain about the impact at this early stage.2

Respondents, including businesses of all sizes, from component suppliers to vehicle manufacturers and importers, are most concerned about the potential negative impact of tariffs, custom charges or other barriers between the UK and the EU single market (68.4%). They also expressed concern about losing access to EU trade deals (66.4%), being bound by regulations in their prime export market over which they have no say (66.1%) and loss of access to the EU-wide skills market (63.6%).

The UK automotive manufacturing sector has grown dramatically over the past few years and now employs 169,000 people, including many skilled EU nationals recruited to fill vacancies which the local labour force could not meet. The lack of certainty regarding the future status of these workers in the UK was cited frequently as a concern (59.7%) along with the potential for a drop in sales (52.7%) and investment (46.1%), with larger companies showing the most concern about the latter.

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT, said, “UK Automotive is globally competitive with overseas demand for British made products increasing, not least in Europe which is by far our largest market. The latest increase in production output, however, is the result of investment decisions made over a number of years, well before the referendum was even a prospect. These decisions were based on many factors but, primarily, on tariff-free access to the single market, economic stability and record levels of productivity from a highly skilled workforce. To ensure the sector’s continued growth, and with it the thousands of jobs it supports, these must be priorities in future negotiations.”

Car output_rolling year totals June 2016Source: SMMT