Paul Everitt, chief exec of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders was realistic: "With this whole concept of rebalancing the economy, this is what you would expect to see," he commented. "Consumer demand is weaker but at the same time we are seeing a strong performance in some key segments of the manufacturing economy."
Irish and Welsh sales woes
The new car sales downturn was worst in Northern Ireland where sales slumped almost 12%. Welsh sales also were hit hard, down 9.9% while English sales slipped 3.9%. However registrations in 2011 were broadly supported by fleet sales.
Well-off unaffectedDiesel and alternatively-fuelled cars both took record shares of the market in 2011, with diesel volumes surpassing petrol volumes for the first time, said the SMMT. The Ford Fiesta was the best selling new car in 2011, with the VW Golf the best selling diesel model.
What is interesting is how fuel-efficient (and less polluting) cars have become in recent years. See table below. The average new car will do more than 50mpg and emit under 140g of CO2 per km. Very different from the start of the decade.