SANTANDER

SANTANDER

February 21, 2012 07:08 ET

New Car Sales Set to Reach 2 Million in 2012, Says Santander

- Despite dented confidence in UK economy, latest research suggests consumers are eager to buy new cars this year

- However bank claims converting prospective buyers into actual purchasers could prove tricky

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Feb. 21, 2012) - According to banking group Santander, two million Brits will purchase a new car in 2012- up 1.4% since 2010. The bank, analysing recent research carried out by market research firm, Mintel, suggests that the car industry is in better health than first suspected; especially since 2009 and 2010, where the sale of new cars slumped dramatically.

But what is helping drive these new car purchases? Mintel suggests the government's car scrappage scheme, launched in 2009 to try and persuade consumers to buy new cars, certainly improved sales initially. But now the scheme has ended, the reason is pertinent to a change in consumer attitudes.

According to the Mintel report, consumers are now purchasing smaller to medium sized cars, so to avoid higher tax charges and to save on rising insurance premiums.

Such sale increases- however small- will certainly help restore confidence in the car industry. However Santander claims these small increases will remain incremental in years to come- barring further economic woes- if car manufacturers don't somehow change the way they market and position their products.

The bank claims 2012 could see car manufacturers promoting new discounts and offers, as confidence in the UK economy is still fragile. The bank suggests that along with the usual one-year free tax and other car insurance incentives, car manufacturers could also include interesting extras, such as a LCD TV, optional child seat or even a day-out driving experience to help attract further sales.

About us

Banco Santander (SAN.MC, STD.N, BNC.LN) is a retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, with presence in 10 main markets. Services include bank account services, insurance and loans. At the close of June 2010, Santander was the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalisation and, at the end of 2009, fourth in the world by profit. Founded in 1857, Santander had €1,365 billion in managed funds. Santander has more than 90 million customers, 13,671 branches - more than any other international bank - and 170,000 employees. It is the largest financial group in Spain and Latin America, with leading positions in the United Kingdom and Portugal and a broad presence in Europe through its Santander Consumer Finance arm. In the first half of 2010, Santander registered €4,445 million in net attributable profit. Santander UK is a full-service retail and commercial bank providing services to 25 million customers in more than 1,400 branches and around 4,500 cash machines.

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