New car sales have slumped for the fifth successive month.
Sales in November 2010 totalled 139,875 – an 11.5% fall on the November 2009 figure, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
The downturn this year reflects the ending of the Government’s car scrappage scheme which boosted sales in the second half of last year.
However, the fall last month was not as steep as had been anticipated and the SMMT is predicting total sales for this year will exceed two million.
Sales for the first 11 months of 2010 now stand at 1,907,029 – a 3.4% rise on the January-November 2009 period.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: “New car registrations fell by less than expected in November, with demand from the fleet sector helping to offset the market rebalancing following the end of the scrappage incentive scheme.”
He went on: “Registrations are expected to fall next month, but demand may benefit from motorists looking to avoid the January VAT rise. This factor, coupled with the strength of the first half of 2010, means year-end volumes are expected to lift to over 2.03 million units – 2% up from last year.
“Next year will continue to be challenging as consumer spending tightens and the Government’s austerity measures take effect.”
The SMMT said the November 2009 new car sales included around 35,000 vehicles – more than 22% of the total – which were bought through the scrappage scheme. Sales in 2011 are expected to fall around 5% to 1.93 million.
Diesel cars took 53% of the market last month, while registrations of alternatively-fuelled cars jumped 83.5% to give them a 1.3% share of the November market. The top-selling models in November 2010 were Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf.