Demand for UK-built cars among British buyers fell by 9.5% year-on-year to 182,830 units to the end of June, as a result of significant VED road tax changes in April and growing consumer uncertainty in the wake of potential interest rises and economic uncertainty in the face of Brexit negotiations.
By contrast, overseas demand for British-built cars has fallen by only 0.9%, with 683,826 cars shipped overseas. While that’s bad news for the car makers, fewer sales of British-built cars around the world means that, in some cases, dealers will be keener to negotiate deals with buyers.
While buyers are advised to negotiate to buy cars at What Car?’s Target Price or below, that doesn’t necessarily mean the cars will be cheaper than they were last year, because prices have risen since currency fluctuations kicked in after the Brexit vote. These fluctuations also affected UK-built cars, because many parts used on them are imported from around the world.
Car makers are also trying to react to a falling market by producing fewer cars in order to keep stock levels down. UK car production fell by 13.7% in June compared with the same month last year, with 136,901 cars rolling off production lines. That is the third consecutive month of decline, adding up to a 2.9% year-to-date dip in production in the year to June. The performance is, however, still the second highest for 12 years.
The opportunities to negotiate for better deals might also be short-lived, because updated versions of many British-built cars – including the Qashqai and Civic – are coming on stream. Increased demand for these cars is likely to mean discounts weaken.
Society of Motor Manufactures & Traders CEO Mike Hawes said: “There are several new models about to be launched which should bolster demand. Several of these are new premium cars, and the UK continues to be the world’s biggest producer of premium cars after Germany.”
Top 10 British-built best sellers globally – 2017 to end of June
- Nissan Qashqai
- Mini One
- Vauxhall Astra
- Honda Civic
- Toyota Auris
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Range Rover Sport
- Nissan Juke
- Range Rover Evoque
- Jaguar F-Pace
Top 10 regional export destinations from UK – 2017 to end of June
- EU28 373,650 (-7.9% year on year)
- USA 106,694 (+37.6%)
- Germany 58,763 (-2.5%)
- Italy 51,196 (-3.2%)
- China 47,830 (-6.4%)
- France 46,061 (-7.2%)
- Belgium 34,422 (-35.6%)
- Spain 23,602 (-10%)
- Australia 18,990 (8.4%)
- Turkey 15,970 (-26.4%)
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