Scots new car sales fall 08 | 12 | 2010

    NEW CAR sales in Scotland have plummeted almost as far as this week's temperatures. Despite the prospect of an increase in VAT at the end of this month, a total of just 11,570 new cars were registered in November, a decrease of 21.44% compared with the corresponding month in 2009, when 14,727 were registered.

    The Borders showed the biggest drop, down 32.14% on last year, while Lothian fell only 6.6%. Sales in Strathclyde though were down a whopping 29.44%.

    Over the opening 11 months of the year though, new car registrations across Scotland are down only 2.36%, from 169,547 to 165,540.

    The UK as a whole experienced a decrease of 11.52% in sales in November, with 139,875 cars registered as against 158,082 for November last year, the fifth successive fall this year, following the end of the government's car scrappage scheme in May.

    Scottish Motor Trade Association chief executive Douglas Robertson described the Scottish figures as "disappointing".

    "A drop in the new car registrations figures in November is no surprise to us as we are comparing with 2009 when the scrappage scheme was in full swing," he explained.

    "However, we are a little disappointed at the percentage reduction as we would have anticipated being much more in line with the overall UK trend. We have no doubt that consumers are watching their pennies very carefully in the run up to Christmas".

    However, Neil Greig of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, claimed the difference between Scotland and the rest of the UK came down to uncertainty in the public sector.

    "The industry is blaming almost entirely the end of the scrappage scheme, and I think that is a factor," Greig admitted. "But if finance is a factor you would have thought sales would have picked up with people looking forward to the VAT going up.

    "I think the main worry is that it is linked to economic uncertainty. People don't want to commit to long-term financial plans or major items when they don't know what they're future job prospects are, particularly when so many jobs in Scotland are tied up in the public sector."

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    Jim McGill

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