2018 sales may prove the naysayers wrong

  11 December 2017

Figures showing that registrations in Western Europe are outstripping the UK do little to raise Christmas cheer and, in particular, expectations for the New Year. There is no doubt that Brexit has caused a shock and the repercussions will continue to be felt.

Add to this the wider global predictions that more people are poised to buy online and this will result in dealerships having to shut up shop and you have a pretty gloomy picture of the next 12 months.

An example of this is the deal Ford has done with Alibaba in China, where apparently, cars are going to be sold direct from car parks, dubbed ‘vending machines’. Time will tell if this takes off and many may be thinking ‘each to their own’?

But, it could also be argued there are some underlying trends that could result in a very different picture.

Firstly, the recent Brexit agreement to move onto trade talks is viewed as a huge step forward and while more clarity is sought, business confidence is already improving with the likelihood an acceptable deal will be struck. But, even more importantly employment levels are strong and pay is poised to rise – surely allowing more to feel they can afford to buy a new car.

Notably, the recent IHSMarkit/REC Report on Jobs painted a positive picture of employment in the UK. This included rising permanent and temporary placements, a shrinking number of job candidates and likely pay rises as a result.

What is more, many dealerships are doing relatively well – and showing they can adapt to changing conditions. Promotions, keen pricing and great service are making them the preferred choice for many customers, who continue to use online as a research tool. Next year may well prove to be far better than the pundits of doom are peddling.

Rachel Gordon

Editor

Auto Retail Network

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