Alfa Romeo is bucking the trend and seeing a sales boost.
TOUGH TIMES IN THE SHOWROOMS AS RETAIL CUSTOMERS STAY AWAY
TOUGH trading conditions and consumer fears over job cuts and the state of the economy saw the new car market shrink again last month, down by more than six per cent, although industry leaders say they expect an upturn in the second half of the year.
Orders from the fleet operators held up well, up two per cent in June and by more than three per cent in the January-June period compared to a year ago but retail, private, demand has been hard hit.
Figures released from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that for the first six months of 2010 the retail market stood at 535,000 whereas for the same period this time it is 438,000, a drop of 18 per cent.
Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “June new car registrations continued to perform in line with industry expectations with robust demand in the fleet sector and a relatively weak retail market. The balance of demand makes this a tough time for vehicle manufacturers and their dealer networks. Slow, but steady economic growth in the second half of the year should see volumes increase, although the overall market is still expected to be around 1.93 million units.
With fuel prices so high it is no surprise that we are buying more diesels, up eight per cent this year, with the VW Golf being the best seller in that sector so far this year.
There are some strong performances among the manufacturers with Alfa Romeo enjoying a surge thanks to its MiTo and Giulietta, up almost 70 per cent. Land Rover gained 15 per cent, Mercedes 11 and despite fears over the financial health of the parent company, Saab has seen a 39 per cent jump.
Others have not fared so well. Honda is down 25 per cent, Fiat 23, Subaru 34 and Toyota 22 (although a new Yaris due to be launched soon will help) and Chrysler must be hoping the arrival of the new Grand Cherokee will lift its fortunes because so far this year its sales are down by 60 per cent.