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Car sales down despite impending VAT increase

November new car registrations more than 10% down

Chrevolet dealership

November new car sales are down

New car registrations for November were down by 11.5% compared with November 2009, suggesting consumers aren’t flocking to buy new cars before the 20% VAT rate arrives on 1 January 2011.

November new car registrations down on ‘09

The total of new car registrations for November was 139,875 – down by 11.5% compared with the 158,082 registrations in the same month in 2009, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

November was the fifth consecutive month of decline for the new car market following the closure of the Scrappage Incentive Scheme in May. However, the new car market remains 3.4% up over the first 11 months of the year – at 1,907,029 units compared with 1,844,063 for the same period in 2009.  

Although private car buyers don’t seem to be reacting to the impending VAT increase, fleet managers do. Sales of company cars grew by 6% last month, as firms rallied to beat the tax rise.

See our guide to buying a new car

Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus

Ford Fiesta is the most popular new car

Fiesta is favourite of 2010

Accounting for almost 6,500 of the 140,000 November new car registrations was the Ford Fiesta, which is proving to be the most popular new car in the UK for 2010.

Ford Fiesta new car sales are up to 98,453 for the year-to-date.

The Vauxhall Astra is the second most popular new car with 75,276 sales so far. However, the Ford Focus and VW Golf proved more popular than Vauxhall’s hatchback last month.

Diesel new car volumes rose to 53% with petrol cars relegated to second place. And registrations of alternatively fuelled cars jumped 83.5% in November to give them a 1.3% share of the total market last month and 1.1% share over the year-to-date.

Read our review of the Ford Fiesta

December registrations expected to fall, too

Despite the looming VAT rise, the SMMT has predicted another fall in new car registrations for December.

Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive, said: ‘Registrations are expected to fall next month, but demand may benefit from motorists looking to avoid the January VAT rise.

‘This factor, coupled with the strength of the first half of 2010, means year-end volumes are expected to lift to over 2.03 million units, 2% up from last year.

‘Next year will continue to be challenging as consumer spending tightens and the government’s austerity measures take effect.’

Read more buying a car advice

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