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Deloitte: UK new car market continues to ‘defy gravity’

6 March 2013

Car registration figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, show a 7.9% increase to 67,749 units compared to February 2012.

David Raistrick, UK Manufacturing Leader at Deloitte, said:

“The UK new car market continues to defy gravity with growth levels in stark contrast to the contraction in the major European markets. The growth achieved in the UK during 2013 has exceeded even the most optimistic expectations, while European sales fell 12.8% in January.

Behind the numbers

“The overall numbers give a depressing picture for Europe and show a clear split between the winners and losers in the new car market. Prestige and low-cost car manufacturers are seeing some growth in a shrinking market while the high volume manufacturers are feeling the greatest pain. This would suggest that the new car buyer is either willing to justify the extra expense to buy into the aspirational brands, or is confident that the value for money offered by perceived budget brands is backed up by an improving quality product.

“The UK purchasing public and businesses alike are reacting to increasing fuel charges, both diesel and petrol. This is encouraging car drivers to change from older, less fuel-efficient vehicles to high-efficiency options, whether smaller, turbo-assisted petro vehicles, the latest diesels or hybrids. Ultimately, the price point for each of these technologies will determine the level of take-up given the continuing pressure on household and business budgets alike.

And Finally

“While the UK numbers remain strong, which is clearly in everyone’s interest, one must ask the question as to what is really different and driving strong performance in the UK by comparison to Europe, and in particular the stronger European economies such as Germany. As German new car sales continue to free fall, we need a deeper understanding of the drivers behind the UK’s growth. Is the lull before the storm, or a sustainable longer term high performance?”


Notes to editors:
About Deloitte
Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

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