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UK car sales grow for first time in 15 months

Thu, 06 Aug 2009

By Tim Smith

Motor Industry

06 August 2009 12:30

UK new car sales have nudged upwards by 2.4% in July 2009 – the first increase for 15 months. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which collates registration figures, claimed that the scrappage scheme was responsible for the jump.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘The impact of the scrappage scheme is clear and we are encouraged by the positive impact it has had, increasing new car registrations since April 2008. But the industry still faces a long road to recovery’.

Well, it’s not quite as clear cut as some parts of the media would have you believe. Although Korean firms like Hyundai and Kia have benefited from the scheme, the Fiesta, Focus and Corsa all remain at the top of UK car sales charts. Other winners include Alfa Romeo, which is up 18% year to date and Abarth (which is listed separately from Fiat) is up a massive 3410% on last year. That’ll be the new 500 Abarth then – but they’ve still only shifted 702 cars so far in ’09.

Big losers this year include Chrysler (down 49% on July last year and 72% year to date), Saab (recording a 52% loss versus July last year) and BMW (down 29% on 2008). Although Aston Martin enjoyed a 13% gain on July last year, it’s still down 34% on the first seven months of the year. Jaguar was down 30% and 21% respectively.

Hardly. The SMMT expects the 2009 UK car market to fall 14.4% on last year and a further 5% in 2010.

Are you seeing green shoots? Let us know in the comments section below.

By Tim Smith