SMMT figures not a ‘true picture’

UK Carline says it does not recognise figures from the SMMT suggesting that private registrations fell over the last nine months of 2016 and will continue to fall in 2017.

The SMMT reported yesterday that new registrations hit an all-time high in 2016, adding that private registrations were also at a historic peak. However, it also claimed that private registrations fell during the last three quarters of the year and predicted a ‘challenging’ 2017.

In response, Jonathan Nolan, general manager at car leasing company UK Carline, said, ‘The suggestion by the SMMT is that private registrations have been in decline over the last nine months and will continue to fall throughout 2017, whereas business registrations have increased. However, UK Carline believes that this increase in business registrations is partly due to the increase in popularity of personal contract hire since these cars are registered to the major leasing companies. This is why they will be classed as a business registration but in reality they are actually sales to consumers.

‘We are confident in this claim since UK Carline has seen a significant growth of over 200% in personal lease agreements over the last three years. We are also receiving many more enquiries on a daily basis from consumers who have heard so much about the personal leasing options that are now available to them.

‘The SMMT’s system of how car registrations are recorded doesn’t paint a true picture of the business versus consumer market share in the UK since it only records the first registered owner rather than who will actually be the keeper of the vehicle. For instance if a car is taken out on a lease agreement by a consumer then this will still be recorded as a business registration because the car is owned by the leasing company.’

He added that many consumers are now seeing the benefits of personal lease agreements as opposed to buying cars outright.

He said, ‘When you buy a car you have the burden of depreciation; with leasing this is not an issue as you are paying for the use of the vehicle at a fixed cost for a fixed term for a low monthly rental. Why would you invest your money into a depreciating asset? If you knew your house would lose money over the next few years would you buy it? Probably not!’