UK PC Registrations—Rolling 12 Months to End June 2009

Up to the end of June 2009, UK Passenger New Car Registrations were down 574,917 units, around 24%. More importantly, June registrations showed signs of a significant reduction in the pace of decline. Since July 2008, double-digit percentage losses have been recorded. Between September 2008 and April 2009, the fall in the market was between 20% – 30% compared to the same month the year before. However, in June 2009 the decline rate abated to at around 15%. Many commentators suggest that this is The impact of the UK Scrappage Scheme  – launched 18th May, which may have contributed some 10,000+ units, but the market was up 35,000 units against the rolling trend. However, June is usually 15% up on May in any case. This suggests normal seasonal factors are at work, rather than the vaunted ‘green shoots of recovery’. Let’s all watch the trend..

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Are UK car brands being squeezed by competition or exchange rates?

Received marketing wisdom is that success in the UK car market is driven by brand equity: the more attractive your brand, the more successful you’ll be.
But, the fast growth of budget brands – over the last half decade – suggests that brand plays second fiddle to price, at least in that segment. Price, in turn, depends as much on exchange rates as it does on costs.
In the UK market, it looks as if winners were often those could take advantage of exchange rates over the last 5 years and vice versa, wherever they sat in the market: budget, mainstream or premium.

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US Car Market Round-Up – to June 2009

The improving trend continues in US Car and LCV market. Toyota are the big winner, while Subaru, Hyundai and Kia also do well. Chrysler and GM dissapoint as expected – here’s hoping the damage isn’t permanent for either of them, but they both have a mountain to climb. It appears as if the well-trumpeted forecast that Ford would profit from their difficulties was on the money.

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Will oil prices go crazy again?

Oil prices are rising again and we can see it at the pumps. But the price rises are much lower than they could be. Why? Because oil is sold in dollars and the £/$ Exchange Rate has been lower than trend for 6 months. Which means …. that prices will rise sharply as the £ strengthens. Is that all? Sadly not, OPEC is determined to reduce output to push up prices as well. Oh, and the speculators are back in the oil market. How bad will it get? Oil futures for the next 12 months give prices in the £60—$70 per barrel range. But, if economic demand takes off and the £/$ strengthens and OPEC keeps its foot on the production brake, we could be back to $90—$100 this time next year. Happy days!

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