6.1.2012 SMMT reports on 2011 car market
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has reported on 2011's new car sales trends, announcing that the average CO2 of new cars has fallen to a record low and sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles have risen.
New car demand totalled 1,941,253 units in 2011, which was down 4.4% on 2010 figures but still ahead of sales forecasts for the year. Private sales were down 14.1% over the year, but fleet sales were up 4.7%.
Compared to 2010 figures, 2011's petrol sales volumes were down 12.8%, but diesel and alternatively fuelled vehicles both rose by 4.8% and 11.3% respectively, indicating a moving shift towards more fuel efficient technologies.
The growth in diesel and alternatively fuelled vehicles meant that they both took record market shares over the year, of 50.6% and 1.3% respectively. A total of 25,456 alternatively fuelled vehicles have now been registered in the UK, which includes hybrid and battery electric vehicles. Although it sounds small, alternatively fuelled vehicles rose from 1.1% market share to 1.3% since 2010, which was helped along by electric vehicle sales over the year.
According to the Department for Transport, as of 30th September 2011 786 claims were made through the Plug-in Car Grant for electric vehicle registrations, with SMMT showing that 910 cars were eligible for the grant over the same period.
These trends led to a reduction in average new car CO2 levels falling to a record low of 138.1 g/km, down 4.2% on the 2010 level of 144.2 g/km. This is now 23.7% below the 2000 figure of 181.0 g/km. However, it must be recognised that this figure represents tailpipe CO2 emissions, rather than the lifecycle emissions of vehicles.
There is, however, a degree of inaccuracy in tailpipe CO2 as measured in the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC) compared to real life emissions. This may be more noticeable to motorists as a variation between a car's official mpg figures and real life fuel economy – CO2 and fuel use are directly related. This issue is being addressed by Next Green Car's MPG Monitor campaign.
Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive commented, "Weak economic growth will make trading conditions tough in 2012, but record numbers of new and updated models, significantly improved fuel efficiency and exciting new technologies will help to encourage consumers into showrooms. Business and consumer confidence will be the key to a successful year, so it will be important that government delivers on its growth strategy and helps to resolve instability in the Euro Zone."
SMMT, Department for Transport
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