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New car demand from private buyers stable before lockdown

NFDA 05/11/2020

“Despite an overall, marginal -1.6% decline in new car sales in October, new car registrations from private buyers remained stable showing the importance for dealerships to operate under conditions that enable them to safely meet the current consumer demand”, said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle dealers in the UK commenting on the latest SMMT new passenger car registration figures.

UK new passenger car registrations saw a marginal decline of -1.6% in October with a total of 140,945 units registered. Year to date, 1,384,601 new cars have been registered, a decline of -31.0% from 2019’s levels. In October, private demand was stable, up 0.4%, whilst fleet declined -3.3%. Sales of battery electric vehicles rose by 195.2% and plug-in hybrids grew by 148.7%. Diesel saw a decline of -38.4% and petrol was down -21.3%.

Sue Robinson continued: “It is encouraging to see the continued, strong growth in the battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle segments. Over the past months, dealers have experienced large volumes of online enquiries and we expect this to continue through November.

“Dealers will continue to comply with the regulations to arrange the delivery of cars and, where possible, meet customers’ aftersales servicing needs, in particular, to support key workers and all those who need a car to go to work or for other essential needs.

“Vehicle showrooms were the first industry sector to reopen on 1 June, operating to Covid-secure guidelines. There is no evidence that dealerships have caused the spread of Covid-19 and shutting showrooms for four weeks can damage the livelihoods of the 590,000 people employed in vehicle retail as well as the 168,000 people employed in vehicle manufacturing”.

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About the RMI

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.