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Going against the general gloomy trend in new car sales in Europe this year (general market down 7%, Italy down 20%, France down 13% and Spain down 12%), the UK market has shown insolent year-on-year growth in every month of the year so far in 2012 except February, and confirms in October at +12% to 151,252 registrations. Year-to-date, the 1,771,862 new cars have found a buyer in the UK, a 5% or 83,823 units progression over 2011 and now on track to jump back above the 2 million annual units mark after dropping to 1,941,253 in 2011. Let’s get under the skin of this great performance…
The first interesting element to note is that the growth in 2012 reflects an improvement in private demand, while fleet demand has been stable. This means there is ‘real’ demand from ‘real’ consumers wanting new cars and is an indication that 2012’s growth is robust and not artificially boosted by fleet sales. The second main explanation for the health of the UK new car market this year is the incredible dynamism of the smallest car segment, the minis, up 52% year-to-date due to a bunch of new models being released recently: the VW Up! is #57 and the Skoda Citigo #140 while the Fiat 500 has its best year in the country so far at #11. The Supermini segment for its part is up 6%, with these two segments accounting for no less than 40% of the UK market right now!
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