New car sales have fallen the steepest in Wales during April, says the SMMT.
They dipped over 10% compared to the same month last year to 5,379 new models registered and in Britain as a whole sales slipped just under 4% with 160,606 registrations, and Wales’s best sellers in April were: Fiesta, Focus, Kuga, Qashqai, Ecosport, Polo, A-Class, Duster, GrandlandX, Golf and Tiguan.
Following today’s news from the SMMT that car registrations are down 4.1% year-on-year, Seán Kemple, Director of Sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, said the market is changing.
The findings from the new Britain Under the Bonnet report from Close Brothers Motor Finance found in the past year the proportion of drivers planning on buying a used car has dramatically increased, while those planning to buy new have fallen.
Key stats include:
- 4m drivers have changed their minds about buying a new car since last year, opting for a used car instead
- 48% of drivers say Brexit has had a negative influence on their decision to buy a car
- 50% of dealers see Brexit as a threat – doubled in 6 months
- 49% of drivers said they would opt for a used car next – up from 41% a year ago; while 34% were considering a new car – a decrease of 8%
- 18% of drivers said they were put off buying a car in 2019 because of their confusion about fuel type. Almost one in four diesel drivers (24%) said they were put off because they were unclear about what the costs will be to own a diesel car in the future
He went on, “It’s disappointing to see another month of decline in car sales, especially after last month’s figures fell against expectations. There was some optimism in the sector that the Brexit delay would boost consumer confidence, but it looks like the extension is too little too late.
“It’s not just Brexit hitting the sector though. The ramifications of WLTP are still being felt. Would-be buyers are being put off by huge waiting times on a number of makes and models, and dealers are struggling to fill their forecourts with the vehicles customers want. We’re seeing drivers switch gear, shifting their new car demand onto used or holding off altogether.
“For dealers, it’s absolutely crucial to have your finger on the pulse of customer demand. There are opportunities within the existing customer base, whether that be offering different models, fuel types, or finance offerings. It’s also a good time to brush up on the aftersales proposition for customers who plan to hang on to their vehicle for a little while.”
James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, added, “April car sales figures traditionally live in the shadow of the bumper numbers recorded in March, and this year has followed that trend.
“Although this year’s April slowdown is ever so slight, it still underlines the challenging environment the motor industry faces today.
“While official data shows average wages are rising at a decent rate – and easily outpacing inflation – many consumers are clearly still cautious about making big-ticket purchases like cars.
“Although overall registrations are down, we are still seeing an increase in popularity of alternatively-fuelled vehicles – such as electrics and hybrids – which are up 12.7% making Britain a key market for more eco-friendly vehicles.”