Private new car sales were down by 6% in November compared to the same month last year, with the general election predictably causing havoc for retailers.
On the other hand, fleet registrations were up by almost 3% in November, according to the latest data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which meant that the overall new car market was down by just over 1% compared to the same month last year.
Any election period tends to cause potential buyers to keep their wallets firmly in their pockets, and all signs suggest that we can expect a muted end to a disappointing year for new car sales.
Good news for plug-in cars, not so much for diesels
Diesel sales continue to fall as fleets follow private buyers in turning away from the fuel in favour of petrol and, increasingly, electric or hybrid models.
It was a good month for electric cars, with registrations up massively year-on-year thanks to an increasing number of electric models now available in showrooms. Plug-in hybrids also improved, up 35% from the admittedly low levels of 12 months ago. Regular hybrids are still growing in number as well, so it all added up to a market share for alternatively-fuelled vehicles of more than 10% for the first time.
Corsa returns to the top of the charts
The soon-to-be-replaced Vauxhall Corsa has yo-yoed its way through the 2019 sales charts. It hit the top spot in September, fell out of the Top Ten altogether in October, and bounced back to the #1 slot again in November. Can it hold on to the top spot in December before it bows out in January in favour of the all-new model?
The real surprise was that the Ford Fiesta wasn’t hot on its heels. Second spot went to another model that’s in full runout mode, the Ford Kuga. The Fiesta did cling onto third place, but only just ahead of the Volkswagen Golf.
After that, there were no great surprises in the Top Ten in November, and the year-to-date results suggest that the whole-year rankings are pretty much set. The Corsa’s strong performance saw it jump the Ford Focus for third place in year-to-date registrations, so it will be interesting to see if December’s results change this at all.
As usual, we’ll look at the ten best-selling cars in more details in the next day or two.
Good month, bad month
The overall market may have been relatively stable in November, but some brands had great months while others were not looking so healthy.
Meanwhile, things were not as pleasant for Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Bentley, Dacia, Fiat, Jaguar, Kia, Lotus, Maserati, Mini, Mitsubishi, Renault, Smart, SsangYong, Suzuki and Vauxhall, who all saw registrations fall by double-digit percentages compared to last November.