The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) released new car figures for March 2009. The March market fell by 137,730 units and by 202,991 units over the first three months of the year. The March total was 4.9% below expectations.
The slowdown continues across all sales types, fuel types and segments although once again the mini segment bucked the trend and rose 84.0% in March following the arrival of new models over the last 12 months.
Paul Everitt SMMT chief executive said “March new car registrations are a barometer of confidence in the economy, from businesses and consumers alike. The fall in the market shows that government needs to do more to boost confidence. A scrappage scheme will provide the incentive needed and the evidence is clear that schemes already implemented across Europe do work to increase demand. The UK is the only major European market not to implement a scheme.”
The German government introduced the scheme in January and this has led to a 21 percent rise in vehicle sales in February, the number in the UK fell by 21 percent in the same month. A similar scheme in France has not been quite so successful but buyers only receive £1000 for vehicles over ten years old.
The introduction of a scrappage scheme could create a demand for up to 250,000 new vehicles and remove an equal number of old and heavily polluted vehicles from our roads which can only be good for the environment.