There are new car bargains to be had as dealers report manufacturers are dropping prices and supporting lower rate finance deals to lift sales.
The traditional slow August sales before the new registration plate arrives on 1 September has been followed by an unseasonally slack demand for new models arriving from today.
Rising new car prices and higher interest rates have combined to stall demand and some buyers are still paying for summer holidays with little extra funds to splash out on a new car.
Continuing concerns about possible higher inflation affecting mortgage rates together with the approaching winter and higher fuel bills have added to the pressure on dealers and manufacturers.
Now the message has got to the manufacturers and a variety of incentives have been put on the desks of dealers to help them move an over-supply of stock.
Those makers who have genuinely new models coming on stream are less likely to cut prices as this impacts on second-hand prices but some are promoting models which are almost a year away from the showrooms and dealers are being encouraged to build relationships with buyers who already have a model with the same badge.
Dealers have also said they are not willing to take in part exchange the pre-2005 petrol or pre-2017 diesels which some owners want to sell and buy more lower emission models if they drive into some cities with tough daily charges for the worst polluters.
The market might be facing a glut of these older models and used prices will collapse leaving dealers with little profit.
The DVLA has banned a selection of number plate combinations ahead of new changes this week.
From today, the DVLA will release its 73’ registration plates. Each year, two sets of number plates are released.
This year, the ‘23’ number plate was released in March, with the ‘73’ plates set to be issued later this week.
With each release, millions of number plates are put into circulation so it is not too surprising that some of the combinations form or resemble unpleasant or rude words.
To help ensure that only socially acceptable plates are used on the road, the DVLA bans a long list of plates before they are issued to the public.
Jon Kirkbright, sales director at Platehunter, submitted a Freedom Of Information request to the DVLA to reveal exactly which plates have been banned ahead of the new 73’ release.
Jon specialises in buying and selling private number plates and has over 11 years experience in the trade.
Commenting on the exclusive lists of banned number plates, Jon said: “So many number plates are banned before each release by the DVLA, that the public would never usually be aware of.
“It is unsurprising that there are so many banned combinations when millions of plates are released twice a year. It is inevitable that some will spell – or almost spell – rude or offensive words.
“However, some of them are borderline but I understand why the DVLA chose to be extra cautious. They are simply trying to protect what is a very significant source of revenue for them.”
There are also more second-hand electric cars coming through from fleets and businesses which were incentivised to buy them two or three years ago and demand for these is slowly rising among private buyers, but only if there is a full service history and mileage is not excessive.
As the second-hand evs age they are seen as becoming practically worthless beyond six to eight years due to battery replacement cost.
A new type of mechanic or technician is beginning to appear along with specialist businesses which will service evs or replace the batteries through component suppliers and these are likely to take away business from franchised dealerships or garages use to handling petrol and diesel powered models.
There is also further evidence of change coming from the EU.
As the EU grappled with a staggering trade deficit of €440 billion in 2022, Europe’s automotive industry generated a trade surplus of more than €110 billion. Defying the odds, this industry remains a vital pillar of the EU economy, contributing €25 billion to this surplus.
However, subtle tremors are becoming evident. The industry’s robustness is being threatened by the mounting challenges that undermine its competitive standing. Despite ambitious investments in the battery supply chain, the import of batteries has chipped away at the once-strong trade surplus for auto components, eroding more than 60% since 2018.
Across the span of 18 months, the US has witnessed a remarkable surge, attracting almost three times the investment the EU has managed to secure within the auto supply and battery sector.
And perhaps most concerning, auto suppliers find themselves at a crossroads, beginning to relinquish their market share concerning foreign direct investment. It’s a picture of resilience, combined with vulnerabilities, urging the industry to navigate a shifting landscape in order to safeguard its pivotal role within the European economy.
Nils Poel – CLEPA’s Deputy Head of Market Affairs said, “EU suppliers built a global lead in the previous decade, resulting in an annual trade surplus close to €30 billion. If the current growth of battery imports continues, in 2024, the EU could become a net importer of automotive components.”