New car sales in the United Kingdom soared last month as consumers took advantage of the government's car scrappage scheme. A total of 158,082 new vehicles were registered in November 2009, a huge 57.6% increase on the November 2008 figure, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.
The cash for bangers scrappage scheme accounted for 21.6% of all new sales last month. The November figures took sales for the first 11 months of the year to more than 1.84 million, but this is still 8.8% down on the January-November 2008 total.
The SMMT now expects the UK full 2009 sales total to be just above 1.95 million. The 2008 total was 2.13 million.
Last month's figures look particularly good as the November 2008 total showed the deepest monthly decline in the 15-month run of falls in sales - a sequence that finally ended in July this year. Last month's sales were on a par with those of November 2007.
SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: The increase in new car registrations in November reflects the positive impact of the scrappage scheme, customers avoiding the VAT increase in January and the very difficult conditions we experienced a year ago.
We are urging the Government to use its pre-Budget report to sustain the recovery and generate business confidence by stimulating demand in key parts of the new vehicle market”.
Sales to private buyers rocketed 141.2% last month. Overall, total sales have risen 11.2% over the past five months.
But the SMMT warned the outlook for 2010 was uncertain, with the scrappage scheme ending soon, VAT returning to 17.5% in January and the new first-year road tax rates coming into effect in April.