Scottish registrations for new cars fell by just short of 5% in 2011, according to the latest figures released by the motor trade industry.
The total number of new cars registered was just below 167,000, representing a fall of 4.85%. Though this is slightly ahead of the figure across the whole of the UK, it is not something that unduly worries the Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA), in light of the present economy.
Reacting to the news, the SMTA chief executive, Douglas Robertson said:
“People are hanging on to their cars [for longer] – it is the same with business and fleet cars.”
The motor industry has performed considerably well throughout the downturn, helped in part by the government’s scrappage scheme of 2010. However, many dealerships, particularly those concentrating on the corporate market have struggled with cash flow.
Many have managed to drive their business forward though, introducing different lending strategies through such means as invoice factoring. This has helped them to bolster their finances and has allowed them not only to continue purchasing stock but ensure staffing levels are strong enough to respond to customer demand.
Though the fall in new car purchases is not good news, mindful of the scrappage scheme it is perhaps better than many would have expected. With a large number of new models expected this year, many are quietly confident about 2012.
Fleets will be a year older than usual for example, whilst with many improvements in fuel efficiency on newer models, many drivers will be eager to reduce their weekly outgoings.