Car sales down
Today the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders published the car sales data for November, which confirmed the picture of demand I’ve been drawing in recent weeks: reasonably good in the business sector but household demand continues to be very very depressed.
Car sales were 11.5 per cent lower last month than in November 2009, reflecting the fact that we had the car scrappage scheme then and don’t now.
It had been widely expected that the figures for November would be worse than those for October. The SMMT calculates that, when last month is compared with the figure for November 2009 with car scrappage sales stripped out, the figure shows a 14 per cent increase. A key reason for these better than expected results is the strong performance of fleet sales, up 10.7% on the year to date. Fleet managers and motorists may also have been bringing purchases forward to avoid the VAT increase.
Overall, however, the Society’s forecast remains rather glum:
The market is forecast to fall by some 5% in 2011 to 1.93 million units, due to the impact of the austerity measures and notably the expected squeeze on consumer spending.
Can growth be maintained next year when the cuts will hack back public sector and private household demand? Its still a gamble.