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UK car market slumps to 'worst since 1966'

Fri, 05 Sep 2008 00:00:00 -0700

Britain's new-car market is nosediving. Purveyors of big expensive cars – like Porsche – are experiencing that sinking feeling

By Tim Pollard

Motor Industry

05 September 2008 07:07

Credit crunch, spiralling oil prices, fragile consumer confidence... It's small wonder that the UK's car market is in turmoil. Figures just out confirm that buyers are shunning dealerships in droves – with the slowest August since 1966.

The news is further confirmation that 2008 is shaping up to be the toughest year of the decade. Trade forecasts are now being cut, predicting new-car sales of 2.26 million this year and just 2.16m in 2009. That's right: it's going to get worse before it gets better...

Why Britain's car market is slumping
August is traditionally the slowest month in the calendar, taking just 3 percent of sales as buyers hang out for the new registration letter in September. But even so, just 63,225 new car sales in one of western Europe's biggest car markets is alarming.

That represents a drop of 19 percent on last August and the UK's car market is running at 4 percent down on last year. 'The slowdown in the UK mirrors the difficult conditions being experienced across the main European markets,' said Paul Everitt, chief executive of trade body the Society of  Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The bosses of the companies he represents might put it a bit blunter. This is a slowdown of epic proportions after several years of booming car sales earlier in the decade.

Click 'Next' to read about the winners and losers in the UK new car market

By Tim Pollard