New-car sales surge ahead but only time will tell real story
Published 18/07/2013 | 05:00
NEW-CAR sales continue to push on significantly as the first month of the '132 era' passes the halfway mark.
By the start of this week, 6,554 cars had been registered compared with 1,317 for the same period in July 2014.
There are factors at play other than straight buying, with hire-drive sales and delayed purchases accounting for a substantial number.
But even those who were against the new double-year registration idea concede there has been a lift in interest and business these past two and a half weeks.
Rightly too, however, they say we will have to wait for some time to see how sales overall have gone for the May to September/October period in order to get a better perspective on the real meaning of the July surge in registrations.
And proponents of the plan say it will take two or three years for the whole thing to bed in properly.
So far, though, it must be said, it has made for an interesting summer for buyers and sellers.
We should not forget the frightening backdrop against which our little 132 scenario is being played out. There has been and continues to be a serious decline in car sales across Europe.
It may be showing signs of bottoming out, but such is the level of cut-throat price competition that it could implode.
There are real fears of a major bloodletting, as some brands and dealers are so anxious to shift metal they are offering to give you a smaller car free if you buy a bigger one.
Automotive News Europe put it really well this week. Europe has become "a car buyer's paradise and a manufacturer's nightmare".
However, in the long term the likes of two-for-one deals will benefit no one.
Such extreme forms of selling create expectations that can't be met in anything other than crisis situations.
Ultimately, it will lead to more job losses, manufacturers dipping further into the red, cutbacks in production and a trail of chaos for dealers and motorists.