Peaks and troughs

  12 June 2017

New car registrations fell by 8.5% in May, according to Monday’s figures from the SMMT. I think this announcement was a little buried by everything else going on last week, and took more of a back seat than it should have.

There was a serious build-up to April’s sudden drop in registrations; we all knew the introduction of the latest VED scheme would cause sales to spike in March and tail off the following month, and as alarming as the 19.8% drop appeared at first glance, it was always going to happen.

I think May’s figure is a greater cause for concern. The SMMT continued to pin a certain amount of this on VED, and also cited buyers sitting tight until after Thursday’s General Election. The latter scapegoat stacks up, as retailers surveyed in our annual barometer confirmed that politics had put many a car purchase at bay.

I reckon it would be fair to chalk a reduction of 5% or less up to those reasons, but 8.5% is quite a bit, while respective falls of 20% and 14% for diesel and retail sales are a lot. Granted, business and alternative fuel vehicle sales were up by 20.1% and 46.7% respectively, but they’re a fraction of the market – and not everyone can sell electric cars to SMEs.

The peak is clearly behind us, but last month’s slope was pretty steep. Here’s hoping for a refreshing absence of major political events and legislative changes to smooth things out.     

Jack Carfrae

Acting editor

Auto Retail Agenda

Start your free 14 day trial

Get free access to our Bulletin, Agenda & Profit for 14 days.

After 14 days we will auto bill your credit or debit card unless the order is cancelled.

    As an auto retail executive you need insightful and unique industry intelligence to boost your business potential. Here’s a taste of what Auto Retail Network has to offer:

    • Get informed and boost your business potential
    • More than 1,200 fellow executives have joined us
      since launch
    • Independent, carefully crafted, unique content relevant to you and your business
    • Develop a greater awareness of market trends and opportunities
    • Access to a wide range of materials whenever, wherever and however you want it
    • Significant discounts on ARN events, reports and
      other publications