These dismal results, released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), represent the greatest monthly drop since June 1980. During the year to November, car sales totalled 2,023,104 units, down 10.7% on the first 11 months of 2007.
According to the SMMT, the government’s decision to reduce VAT to 15% as of Dec. 1 may have prompted a pause in new car purchasing. "Consumers may have delayed their purchases to take advantage of the recent VAT reductions,” commented SMMT CEO Paul Everitt. The SMMT anticipates full year sales of 2.1 million vehicles; last year 2.4 million new cars were sold in the U.K.
The U.K. decline in new car sales during November was not Europe’s largest sales in Spain plunged 49.6%, the largest monthly fall in over 15 years and the seventh consecutive month of declining sales. Swedish sales of new cars fell 36% to 17,616 vehicles in November, the largest monthly decline since 1993, and new car registrations in Germany declined 17.6% in November to 233,000 units. The ACEA does not release its Europe-wide results until Dec. 16, however for the first ten months of the year European car sales have been 0.4% down on last year. (Tyres & Accessories/Staffordshire, U.K.)