New UK car sales slide in 2011: industry data

6th January 2012, Comments 0 comments

Sales of new cars in Britain fell by 4.4 percent last year compared with 2010, official figures showed on Friday.

Almost 1.95 million new cars were registered in 2011, industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said in a statement.

That compared with a figure of just over 2.0 million for 2010 when sales were boosted by the previous British government's car scrappage scheme.

New car sales meanwhile slid 3.7 percent in December 2011 to 119,188 vehicles, compared with the same month of the previous year.

"2011 proved to be a challenging year for the UK motor industry," said SMMT chief Paul Everitt said in the statement.

Looking ahead, he warned about the impact of flagging British economic growth, amid ongoing uncertainty over the eurozone sovereign debt crisis.

"Weak economic growth will make trading conditions tough in 2012," Everitt said.

"Business and consumer confidence will be the key to a successful year, so it will be important that (the UK) government delivers on its growth strategy and helps to resolve instability in the eurozone."

Britain's so-called scrappage scheme, which had offered subsidies for buying new cars in exchange for trading in ten-year-old vehicles, was launched in May 2009 under the old Labour government, but it ended in March 2010.

© 2012 AFP

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