UK Car Buyers Not Attracted By New Number Plates

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) recently announced that March car sales did not positively react to the new number plates that were released. Compared to March 2010, car sales were lower by 31,000 units last month.

This represents a 7.9 percent decline in sales, according to the latest statistics released by SMMT.

UK car finance industry spokespeople claim this situation is not as bad as it seems. They note that the decline in March is not as severe as the 11.5 percent drop that occurred in January.

One thing that continues to affect sales is the end of the scrappage-incentive program provided by the government. Eliminating this item, the March decrease was actually only 5.9 percent, which exceeds industry expectations.

SMMT Chief Executive Paul Everitt stated that despite the year-over-year decline, the market is still on track to meet 2011 forecasts. Mr. Everitt reported that motorists are buying vehicles that are more fuel efficient and feature lower emissions.

Even so, industry analysts predict a continued decline in sales over the next few months. They expect that stabilization late in the year will result in an annual decrease of approximately five percent.

From January to March 2011, the average decline in new car registrations was 8.7 percent compared to the three-month period during 2010. The number of private buyers taking advantage of car finance dropped by 17 percent. Industry experts attribute this to the financial pressure placed on

the average car buyer by inflation, tax increases, and rising gas prices.

Interestingly enough, business car sales increased 12.7 percent and fleet sales increased 1.7 percent during March. This illustrates the stark contrast in financial situations between the corporate world and private car buyers.

Even with bad credit car finance available, many individual buyers are opting to wait to make a vehicle purchase.