Tony Worthy

• The April registrations posted the best monthly growth of
2008, up 5,505 units to 175,668, with diesel market share hitting a
record 45.4%. Demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles up 8.4% in
April to 1,323 units. “With fuel prices sky-high, consumers are
looking for efficient motoring they can afford. The latest
registration figures show diesel-powered vehicles have hit their
highest monthly market share on record, alongside a stronger focus
on super-efficient small cars,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief
executive. Registrations over the first four months of 2008 were
virtually unchanged on last year’s performance, despite concerns
over the strength of the economy. Whilst the annual moving rate has
risen to 2.404m units,  on par with the full year 2007 volume,
the forecast for the total 2008 new car market has been trimmed to
2.335m units, some 70,000 units below the current level. The recent
growth in the new car market has been bolstered by improved demand
from fleet buyers and only a relatively modest dip in private
sector registrations. Fleet demand rose by 7.5 per cent in April,
its strongest rate since October 2007. The private sector slipped
by just 1.2 per cent in the month and by 2.2 per cent over the
year-to-date, despite concerns over consumer confidence.

• Planned spending on cars over the next six months is set
to fall by £11.1bn to £47.5bn, according to Sainsbury’s finance car
buying index. The forecast is the gloomiest for three years but 30
per cent of those intending to buy a car say they will need a loan.
Sainsbury’s finance attributes the decline to concerns about
economic pressures and the rising cost of motoring.

• The growth of easy high street credit may be slowing, as
the global financial markets continue to wobble, but it has taken
its toll on dealers. CAP research among dealers found that 41 per
cent of used car dealers report that point of sale finance business
is down compared with the same point as last year. Around 20 per
cent report that business is increased whilst another 18 per cent
suggest that they have seen little or no change. Of those who
reported a reduction the average fall was 31 per cent. This
research suggests that overall finance sales are down for dealers
by 6.5 per cent. Half the dealers questioned reported that
customers arrived at their dealerships after they arranged their
finance and insurance before buying a car.

• Vehicle dealers need to be ready for new consumer
protection rules coming into force in May, according to the RMI
National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA). The Unfair
Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD) passes into law on May 26
2008, and will harmonise unfair trading laws across all EU Member
States, and introduce a general prohibition on traders not to treat
consumers unfairly. Under the Directive businesses must not mislead
consumers through acts or omissions, or use pressure-selling
techniques.

Motor Finance Issue: 43 – May 08
Published for the web: May 27 08 12:1
Last Updated: May 27 08 12:2