September an ‘exceptionally weak’ month
for new car sales

New car sales tumbled in September amid plummeting consumer
confidence. 

Even the biannual plate change was not enough to tempt large
numbers of car buyers into showrooms, with the monthly figures from
the SMMT showing that new car registrations were down 21.2 per cent
year on year to 330,295 units. Year-to-date sales have declined by
7.5 per cent to 1,794,419 units.

This was the fifth consecutive month of falling sales, said SMMT
chief executive Paul Everitt, calling on the government to act to
alleviate conditions in the motor retail sector, which he called
“the most difficult economic conditions the industry has faced in
17 years”. He said: “The chancellor’s pre-budget report should set
out a package of measures to boost demand for new fuel-efficient
cars and scrap plans for unfair increases in car tax.”

Sue Robinson, director of the RMIF National Franchised Dealers
Association, demanded that the Bank of England cut interest rates
to stimulate demand. “While consumer confidence remains low, all
retailers, including car dealers, will find trading conditions
tough, so it is essential that the Government works to return
stability and confidence to the whole economy.

“Lower interest rates will help bring stability to the economy,
and reassure consumers, and help business. In the long run it is
good for the economy,” Robinson commented.