Summer’s end; now the heat will be really felt

  13 September 2010

Considering the heat that dealers are about to face in a shaky market, the SMMT could have chosen a better adjective than ‘cooled’ to describe the August new car market.

And you won’t find much warmth in this month’s sales. They definitely will not be popping-up like hot toast from a toaster. The Society reckons September will be off by 10% compared with the scrappage-induced market this time last year.

Sticking with the SMMT language, minis, superminis and lower medium segments in August were almost frigid. This time, last year, Hyundai dealers were enjoying their part in pushing sales up by 322%. Last month Hyundai sales were down by nearly 60% but year-to-date they are still 47% ahead.
That’s the picture, generally, with the SMMT claiming the year will actually finish just ahead of 2009.

Whether that result will be induced by manufacturers’ incentives, pre-registrations or by forward buying to beat the VAT increase, is yet to be determined. If there are too many VAT-beaters, then the heat will be on manufacturers to deliver before the January deadline. One Mini dealer in Cheshire told me this week that the waiting list for the new Countryman (being launched on 18 September) is already up to 4-months.

By comparison, Jaguar showed in August just how balmy the executive and luxury segments are. Jaguar sales rose 11% in August, making it the  company’s busiest August for two years. Managing director, Geoff Cousins, heralded it as evidence of consumer confidence bouncing back.

Together, Land Rover and Jaguar have recorded a larger sales increase than any other manufacturer so far this year – more than 61%.

Jaguar Land Rover has a fantastic product range and whilst I can understand that global sales are going well, where is the money coming from in the current UK economy to produce such a blazing performance?

Have a great week, both in and out of the showroom. If you have a story for us,
email barry@auto-retail.com
Barry Hook

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