Government blamed for fall in car sales

Survey suggests a lack of clarity on future diesel and electric car taxation plans is to blame for potential new car buyers holding off...

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What Car? team
22 Aug 2018 5:20 | Last updated: 17 Sep 2018 15:53

A lack of clarity on future government policy regarding diesel and alternative fuels is the biggest reason why potential buyers are delaying new car purchases, according to new research shown to What Car?

With new car sales down 5.5% in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2017, leading market research firm HPS MM-Eye conducted a poll of 1000 people considering buying a new car. The results showed that 90% still planned on replacing their current car, suggesting that the dip in sales is a temporary blip due to market uncertainty rather than a trend.

Diesel dilemma

Some 59% of potential buyers cited the lack of clarity from the Government on diesel and future fuel policy as a major reason for delaying a car purchase.

Damien Field, the boss of HPS MM-Eye, said: “Almost half of those expressing a concern are worried that diesels could be banned, 42% have worries about the resale value of their car if they buy diesel and 33% are caught in a vortex because they don’t know what to buy instead of a diesel. It’s clear what a bit of clarity could do to tip buyers into making a purchase.”

Government blamed for fall in car sales

Fears over Brexit and the UK’s economy were also a factor in delaying a purchase for 44% of respondents.

Finance confusion

Claims that car buying wasn’t enjoyable (29%), and was too complex (23%) were also concerns, while 23% of buyers said the multitude of car finance offers was too confusing.

“Overall, around 16% of respondents admit to being overwhelmed,” said Field. “Consumers are crying out for clarity. We know car buying is complex, but some of it is needlessly so.”

When asked for potential solutions to make car buying more appealing, the most popular suggestion was the opportunity to conduct home test drives, selected by 59% of respondents. Better aftersales support was called for by 50% of those surveyed, with trade-in guarantees for obsolete technology (48%), better advice on future tech (47%) and flexible car ownership (39%) also popular choices.

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