Car sales rise for 14th consecutive month in April

(Source: Reuters)

Figures released today show that new car registrations have risen for the 14th month in April, by 14.8 per cent to 163,357 units. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders which compiled the data said that sales for 2013 would be stronger than previously forecast.

SMMT interim chief executive Mike Baunton:

The UK new car market continues to perform surprisingly strongly, with volumes again increasing in April.

The UK continues to perform well ahead of the troubled Eurozone as consumer confidence, regular purchase cycles, attractive finance deals and wider market factors continue to make new car buying favourable for motorists.

Dr Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight gave comment on the data:

Robust car sales in April is very encouraging, but the auto sector faces far from easy conditions over the coming months with consumers confronted by significant headwinds and businesses under pressure to contain costs.

A serious concern for the car industry is that consumers could rein in their spending on big-ticket items over the coming months as their purchasing power is squeezed by higher consumer price inflation and muted wage growth. There have also been recent signs that employment is stuttering after growing markedly through 2012.

Business confidence is fragile and companies remain under pressure to contain costs in a still challenging and uncertain economic environment. A worry for the car industry therefore is that many fleet operators and businesses will delay replacing vehicles to help contain their costs in an extended weak and uncertain economic environment.