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Auto logistics boosted by industry figures

Auto logistics boosted by industry figures

Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have revealed that new car registrations hit the highest level in a decade during September.

The SMMT's figures reveal that 425,861 new cars were registered in the month of September - a surge of 5.6% over the previous month, and the biggest monthly increase since 2004.

Total UK car sales for the year rose to 1,958,196. September's increase marks the 31st consecutive month of growth, underlining that the market for automotive logistics in the UK is a strong one to be part of right now.

According to a separate report by industry research and analysis firm Transport Intelligence, demand for automotive logistics services is forecast to grow this year by 6% in Europe and 5% in North America. The report says the industry’s health in Germany and the UK is expected to balance out problems in France and Italy.

Underlying demand for automotive logistics services is healthy, as a strengthening economy boosts vehicle sales in developed nations and rising prosperity stimulates demand for car ownership in emerging economies.

Transport Intelligence said China and other emerging markets may post the biggest challenge for the automotive logistics sector, citing lack of openness in China’s growing market.

“Big car companies are now faced with a trend towards networked supply chains, often crossing continents and making life much more expensive and complicated than the ‘local for local’ production model they have always striven to create,” Transport Intelligence said.

Speaking about its figures for UK car sales, the SMMT's chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: "Demand for the new '64' plate has been boosted by intensifying confidence in the UK economy, with consumers attracted by a wide range of exciting, increasingly fuel-efficient, new cars. In the months since March – which saw an 18% jump in registrations – the growth has shown signs of levelling off as the market starts to find its natural running rate."

The Ford Fiesta (23,266 models) was the best-selling car in September, ahead of the Ford Focus (13,508), VW Golf (13,011), Vauxhall Corsa (12,506) and VW Polo (10,312).

The SMMT also revealed that the van market for the year to September 2014 grew 18.1% compared to 2013. September 2014 saw 49,123 registrations, taking cumulative registrations for the year to 242,071.

The news comes in contrast to the wider picture in Europe. US car manufacturer Ford has announced that its European arm would lose $1.2bn this year, and around $250m in 2015, before an anticipated return to profitability. The announcement triggered a fall in Ford's share price, and provoked comment from across the auto industry.

Speaking at this week's Paris Motor Show, Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of the Fiat Chrysler car group, said: "All of us are still reeling from the effects of the Ford announcement. I think there are issues that continue to plague Europe. I have never been a firm believer in the strength of Europe's economic recovery."

Referring to a disagreement between Germany and France over the levels of economic reform, Marchionne said:  "Until you get a unified view about how much reform needs to be carried out... carmakers face a prolonged period of unsettled demand."

He added that the crisis in the Ukraine continues to affect car sales in Russia.

Ford's announcement follows that of German companies Daimler and Volkswagen, both of whom last week adjusted downwards their growth forecast for the global car market. Indeed, Martin Winterkorn, chief executive of Volkswagen, said he did not expect the market to ever return to the pre-crisis sales levels of 15.5 million.

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