Car sales continue to drop...but it's not all bad

The latest round of UK car sales figures is in, and while numbers have dropped because of this whole recession crunch we're in, the industry is still bigging itself up.

Why? Well, it's not as bad as it could have been. That's the top and bottom of it.
The September plate change saw 332,476 cars registered, just under one percent less than in September 2010, and a less dramatic slump than the overall January to September one: sales are down five percent overall compared to those nine months in 2010.

It's the guys pounding the motorways in creased up suits every day that the SMMT thanks for buoying the market: fleet sales are up overall, while private sales are down by 9.3 percent.

The green set have something to ring their bicycle bells about too: average new car CO2 emissions fell by four percent in September, down to 138.5g/km.

The SMMT is calling the figures "stable," saying that the "all-important September market outperformed expectations" by being less than one percent under last year's.

Meanwhile, however, some of the manufacturers are giving themselves a right good pat on the corporate back. BMW has enjoyed a 10.5 percent increase in sales so far this year, compared to the first nine months of 2010, while MINI has done even better, with a 16.2 percent jump; the child outdoes the parent.

Hyundai is having a good old brag too, with like-for-like September sales up a whopping 37 percent – the highest increase of any major car manufacturer, it says.*

Nissan and Ford are both partying too, with the former proclaiming a 17.8 percent increase in September sales compared to the same month last year, and the latter boasting about how it is overall sales leader for 2011. (The Fiesta and Focus are the top two selling cars in the UK to date.)

Yet the SMMT is still slightly worried, and is calling on the Government to encourage more private sector investment in "R&D, skills, new plants (presumably ones that make cars, not oxygen), and machinery."

A tricky run up to Christmas is expected.

*Not including Porsche, Hyundai says, which it strangely doesn't view as a major manufacturer.
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