New Car Numbers Hit by Iraq Conflict and Economic Conditions

The Birmingham Post (England), May 16, 2003 | Go to article overview

New Car Numbers Hit by Iraq Conflict and Economic Conditions


Byline: James O'Brien

New car registrations in Europe during last month and in the first four months of the year were down, the Association of European Automotive Manufacturers said yesterday.

During April 1,219,605 cars were registered, a decrease of 6.5 per cent, against 1,3034,347 and in the first four months registrations were down 3.4 per cent from 5,199,069 to 5,021,955.

Among Midland manufacturers only Mini, Land Rover and Toyota had some sparkle.

A spokesman for the Association said two factors explained the decreases, the effects of military operations in Iraq on the overall economic environment and that Easter had one less working day in the UK, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Portugal.

The downward trend during the first four months also reflected slow economic progress.

MG Rover was down 6.9 per cent January to April falling from 51,611 to 48,071 and down 11.2 per cent monthon-month from 12,151 to 10,792.

At the premier end of the market Jaguar, like its rivals, suffered due to the political and economic conditions and in the four-month period its registrations fell from 18,203 to 15,369, 15.6 per cent. During last month the figure was 3,633, down 29.8 per cent from 5,173.

But the new Jaguar XJ which has an aluminium body has received an award for the best executive car in the 2003 Fleet World honours. Land Rover was a contrast and was up 2.4 per cent in the four months from 24,531 to 25,130 but month-on-month was down 3.2 per cent with figures of 5,747 to 5,564.

Mini, built at BMW Oxford, has continued to sell beyond BMW's expectations and in January to the end of April registrations were up 16.9 per cent from 35,792 to 41,823.

Last month 9,356 cars were sold against 8,787 a year earlier, up 6.5 per cent.

The Mini Cooper and Cooper S sells in the US market and in its first full year it sold 30,000, which was 10,000 more than the projected figure.

BMW was down 10.3 per cent in the first four months from 190,073 to 170,417. …

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