11:41 Thursday 09 January 2014

Car makers steering a path to growth after record 2013 sales

Written byGARETH BUTTERFIELD

THE continuing changing fortunes in the nation’s economy have heralded a string of announcement’s from the nation’s motoring brands, with the industry as a whole reporting its strongest year since 2007.

According to figures released this week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) there were 2,264,737 cars registered in 2013, which was up 10.8 per cent on 2012 and exceeding the motor industry watchdog’s 2.25 million forecast for the year.

During 2013 the number of new registrations hit its hightest total since pre-recession 2007 and December achieved the 22nd consecutive monthly rise.

On average, an additional 600 extra cars were registered per day in 2013 than in the previous year.

The positive figures means the UK is now firmly secured as Europe’s second largest car market and was, in fact, the only one to grow consistently throughout the year.

Experts now predict the 2014 market will stabilise with sustainable growth of around one per cent over the year.

SMMT Chief executive Mike Hawes said: “With its best year since a pre-recession 2007, the UK new car market has helped stimulate the country’s economic recovery.”

“While the European market is only now showing signs of improvement, the UK has consistently outperformed the rest of Europe with 22 consecutive months of growth.

The 10.8 per cent increase in 2013 reflects the attractive financial offers available, as well as increased demand for more technologically advanced new cars.

“We expect new car registrations to remain stable in 2014 as customers return to a more regular replacement cycle.”

RECORD YEAR FOR RENAULT GROUP

BOSSES at Renault UK, which now brings along its rapidly growing sister brand Dacia to the UK market, have reported a record 55.3 per cent surge in its sales during 2013.

During the last 12 months the two brands delivered 63,319 vehicles to UK customers, which was up from 2012’s total of 40,760.

The final quarter of the year was boosted by the arrival of the new Clio and Captur models which helped Renault’s retail sales leap by 37.6 per cent and a record 125.9 per cent for the group when compared to the previous year.

Total group sales for 2013, including vans, was 76,414 units, surpassing the 2012 Renault full-year total registrations of 55,685 units.

Commenting on the results, Ken Ramirez, Renault UK managing director, said: “2013 has been the first step on the growth path for the Renault Group in the UK.

“The stunning designs of New Clio and the all-new Captur crossover have reignited desire for the Renault brand, whilst Dacia – the fastest growing retail brand of the year – has brought unique value-for-money to the UK market.”

Newcomer Dacia was the UK’s fastest growing car brand in 2013, achieving 17,146 sales with a market share of 0.76 per cent, following its launch in January.

Initially the brand offered only two models, the Duster and Sandero, but the Sandero Stepway arrived in May and the Logan MCV came along in September.

NEW MODEL HELPS MG END ON A HIGH NOTE

REBORN Midlands firm MG has also enjoyed a welcome boost in 2013, spurred by the launch in November of its new MG3 supermini.

The chinese-owned firm, which designs, engineers and assembles cars at its base in Longbridge, Birmingham,

predicts its sales are likely to increase even further in 2014 as it looks ahead to the opening by its parent company SAIC of a new manufacuring facility in Thailand.

The new facility should mean production capacity will be around 50,000 vehicles a year, which will mainly consisy of MG vehicles.

Next year the historic British marque will celebrate its 90th anniversary.

In late September, MG was hailed the second-best improver in UK sales for November 2013 over its performance in the previous year.

December 2013 was the best December in the company’s history, nearly 30 per cent up on previous year’s sales for these months.

Since the first customer collection in November 2013, 210 MG3s have already been registered in the UK, and sales look to increase rapidly in 2014 with nearly 1,000 orders waiting to be filled.

Staff at the Birmingham plant forwent their Christmas celebrations to complete as many orders as possible before the Christmas break.

Sales of MG6 GT and Magnette variants are predicted to improve in 2014 thanks to the decrease in CO2 emissions for Diesel variants which MG hopes will attract more fleet buyers.

The MG UK dealer network will grow significantly in 2014 following a programme to recruit dealers.

In recent months new MG dealerships have opened in Woking, Gloucester, Cambridge and two in Sheffield with more to follow in the coming months.

BIG SELLERS BECOME EVEN BIGGER IN 2013

THE UK’S big brands have also reported a better year in 2013 with Vauxhall becoming the UK’s favourite in December.

The Luton-based firm shifted 289,301 vehicles throughout last year, which was a 12 per cent rise over 2012 and saw its market share grow to 11.14 per cent.

Its performance was helped along by the new Insignia and Zafira models, which became number one in their respective segments, while new model launches throughout the year including the ADAM, Mokka and the Insignia range helped bring the sales of cars and vans to 289,301.

Chairman and managing director Duncan Aldred said: “With sales and market share up, it’s a great way for Vauxhall to celebrate its 110th year of building and selling vehicles in Britain.

“We’re also in the middle of a raft of new engine launches, which will continue for the next two years, making our products more refined, efficient and desirable for customers.

“One way or another, it’s clear that Vauxhall will be a force to be reckoned with in 2014.”

BUYERS STILL LOVE PRESTIGIOUS BRANDS

THE top end of the market has also seen record growth, with luxury firm Bentley reporting a 19 per cent increase in global deliveries in 2013.

The Crewe-based firm announced that 10,120 cars were delivered to UK customers in 2013, the highest figure in Bentley’s 95-year history, against 8,510 in 2012.

Bentley’s sales figures were bouyed by demand from the Americas region, and from its customers in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Europe.

Commenting on the results, Bentley’s chairman and chief executive, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, said: “2013 marks our fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth, establishing ourselves as the most sought after luxury car brand in the world.

“We continue to win new customers and we are confident that 2014 will be another successful year for Bentley.

“People all over the world love the unique combination of luxury and performance of our cars.”

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