UK vehicle market in recovery, but crunch time to come, says GlobalData

Following the news that the UK’s new car market was down 5.8% in the month of August, according to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT);

David Leggett, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view: 

“The August drop follows a year-on-year gain posted in July, so is naturally a bit disappointing. However, August is traditionally the quietest month of the year for new car sales in Britain and the underlying recovery from COVID-19 induced lockdown earlier in the year is continuing.

“Nevertheless, the seriousness of the crisis for the automotive industry in Britain is inescapable. The decline to the market so far this year means 600,000 new car sales have been lost.

“GlobalData’s forecast sees the UK light vehicle market at around 2 million units this year, some 25.4% down on 2019 – a much bigger annual decline than we saw with the financial crisis and recession of 2008/9.

“September will be a key month for new car sales in the UK. It is traditionally a big month for retailers in Britain when the registration number plate year identifier changes – this year to the 70 plate. Manufacturers and dealers will be working hard with attractive incentives.

“Further out there are concerns over where demand will settle beyond the immediate post-lockdown rebound, particularly if unemployment rises. As that becomes clearer, manufacturers will make decisions on capacity planning for the next year and that will be crunch time for the sector.”

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