Average new car CO2 fell by a record 4.2 per cent to an average of 158.0 g/km in 2008, a total reduction of 16.8 per cent since 1997. “The global economic downturn, precipitated by the crisis in the international banking and finance sector, created unprecedented challenges for the UK automotive industry in 2008,” said SMMT chief executive, Paul Everitt. “The measures taken by government to support the banking sector and kick-start demand have been necessary, but are not yet sufficient to restore confidence. Further action to ease access to finance and credit across the economy is essential if long-term damage to valuable industrial capability is to be avoided.”
New car registrations fell 21.2 per cent in December to 108,691 units. The full year total is down 11.3 per cent to 2,131,795 units from 2,404,007 in 2007. Diesel market share reached an all-time high of 43.6 per cent.
He added: “2009 will be another difficult year for the UK automotive industry with new vehicle registrations and production significantly reduced. The industry faces these challenges stronger and more resilient than in recent memory. The extraordinary circumstances we currently face mean that government support will be required to take advantage of global economic growth when it returns.”
Economics and business minister, Ian Pearson MP, has written to the automotive industry outlining measures that are available from government in response to the economic downturn. Responding to a question in the House of Commons, Pearson said: “We recognise as a government that the UK automotive industry is of critical national importance.” The minister further stressed that the motor industry is a “vast and important sector to the UK economy”, outlining the large number of jobs in the supply chain, retail and direct production divisions.
Analysis by data company EurotaxGlass’s has revealed that the volume of nearly-new vehicles being offered for sale at the end of 2008 is around 35 per cent lower than was the case during the same period last year, when supply far exceeded demand. A direct result of far fewer dealer self-registrations, this should mean that values of younger used cars are now less likely to continue to fall as heavily as had been the case just a few months ago.
December disposals data was the weakest since that specific measure was introduced two years ago, measured in terms of performance against CAP Clean. Used car volumes remain low, which is a function of fewer part-exchanges coming into the market and a growing number of contract extensions being employed to keep ex-lease cars out of the market. In the retail dealer sector sales are again reduced, along with showroom traffic.