New car sales suffer slowdown


New car sales slowed last month, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed today.

There was a total of 134,027 new registrations in November 2011 - a 4.2% fall on the November 2010 figure.

This took the number of new cars sold in the first 11 months of this year to 1,822,065 - a 4.5% dip on the January-November 2010 total.

Despite last month's dip, the November 2011 total was around 5,000 units higher than expected.

SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: "While the November new car market saw a 4.2% dip, the fuel efficiency of new models broke all records with the average new car achieving 52.5 miles to the gallon.

"Despite the Chancellor delaying the (January 2012) 3p rise in fuel duty, our cost of fuel is still among the highest in Europe, so customers are sure to welcome the 29.3% improvement in new car fuel efficiency over the last 10 years, a demonstration of industry's commitment to delivering good value to motorists."

The SMMT now expects sales for the whole of 2011 to reach around 1.94 million - slightly down on the 2010 figure of 2.03 million which was boosted by the Government's car scrappage scheme.

Diesel cars achieved a record 55.6% share of the market last month, while alternatively-fuelled cars took a 1.6% share of the market - the highest yet.

Looking ahead to next year, the SMMT said: "Market stability in recent months is at odds with growing concerns over the economic setting.

"While the Autumn Statement announced some welcome measures to stimulate growth, the latest forecasts for the UK economy and concerns over the eurozone are unsettling."

The top 10 best-selling models in November 2011 were:

1. Ford Fiesta

2. Vauxhall Corsa

3. Volkswagen Golf

4. Ford Focus

5. Vauxhall Astra

6. Volkswagen Polo

7. Nissan Qashqai

8. BMW 3 Series

9. Mini

10. Mercedes-Benz C Class