New car registrations grew just 0.1 per cent to 59,433 last month, according to figure released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
There was a near-10 per cent year-on-year jump in registrations in August after a 24 per cent surge the month before. In the year to date, car sales north of the Border have grown by 7.4 per cent – more than twice the pace for the UK as a whole.
It is likely some of the gains have been down to manufacturers catching up with their order books following supply chain problems caused by last year’s devastating earthquake in Japan.
Private buyers also typically account for a larger proportion of Scotland’s car market than other parts of the UK, where fleet sales have been sluggish.
Douglas Robertson, chief executive of industry body the Scottish Motor Trade Association, said: “We are pleased with the continued increase for August, however September’s figures will tell if there really is a recovery in the market.”
Since the introduction of the twice-yearly number plate change, August has been a relatively quiet month for car sales. March and September tend to see spikes in activity as buyers are attracted by the new plate.
There were 5,755 cars sold last month in Scotland, a rise of just over 9.9 per cent on August 2011. UK-wide, a total of 59,433 registrations were recorded, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), making for a year-on-year increase of just under 0.2 per cent.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: “Car registrations remained broadly stable in August – a month which traditionally represents a small share of the new car market as motorists anticipate the arrival of the new 62-plate in September. The economic outlook remains challenging, but vehicle manufacturers and dealers are working hard to sustain demand and deliver great value products and services to customers.”
The British-built Nissan Qashqai and Vauxhall Astra featured in the top ten rankings for both Scotland and the UK. Britain’s car industry is enjoying something of a renaissance with strong export sales of models from the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, Mini and Nissan.
Japanese marque Honda yesterday outlined a £267 million investment programme at its UK plant in Swindon, where hundreds of additional jobs have been created to boost production.
Katja Hall, the CBI’s chief policy director, said: “Honda’s announcement once again highlights the strength of the automotive sector, even in challenging times. This major investment demonstrates the competitiveness of UK manufacturing, and will also bring significant benefits to the wider supply chain.
“The fact that car production grew for the 13th consecutive month in July shows the UK is a leading location for motor manufacturers.”
However, some industry observers have warned about the potential fallout from the continuing eurozone crisis and over-capacity in Europe’s car production sector.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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