Ian Plummer offers his view on March's new car performance
Ian Plummer, Auto Trader director, commented:
“Despite the growing levels of economic instability and ongoing fuel-type confusion, the market is showing admirable resilience at a time when the industry needs it most. And with the much feared ‘no-deal Brexit’ yet to transpire, the solid market performance should continue into the weeks to come.
“With January to March accounting for around a third of annual sales, retailers and manufacturers have been keen to get a strong Q1 under their belt to offset any potential post-Brexit slowdown. Our research shows that 68% of consumers believe Brexit will lead to general price increases, and it’s not surprising with brands such as Porsche warning that it could result in British car buyers incurring a 10% increase on new car prices. Brands have done a good job capitalising on this uncertainty, offering great deals to entice car buyers into showrooms.
“The immediate outlook remains positive too; not only are Brexit negotiations far from being finalised, but thanks to brands bringing forward stock levels to help boost Q1, there’ll be plenty of deals still available to fuel consumer demand. And based on the stand out success of SUVs last month, which now account for over a third of new car sales, retailers would be wise to make the most of this ongoing love affair.”
Commenting on the growth of AFVs, Ian continued: “We can see how next week’s introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is influencing consumer behaviour in London; searches for AFVs have surged 81% on our market place in just 12 months, whilst diesels declined by a third. It highlights the huge opportunity for market growth AFVs represent; we just need to make it easier for consumers to buy them.
“Vital to this growth, and ultimately the government’s Road to Zero ambitions, will be overcoming the current challenges surrounding the supply of the latest electric models. This will include making the UK a more attractive proposition for manufacturers who are growing increasingly wary of potential tariffs and border delays.”