Britain’s new car buyers are erring on the side of caution when it comes to replacing their cars amid Brexit uncertainty.
According to research by car sales website BuyaCar, more buyers than ever are putting off the purchase of their new vehicle until after the UK has exited the European Union.
According to a survey conducted immediately after the EU referendum result, one in five buyers were planning to change their car in the next three months, and 27.7 per cent expected to wait more than two years before buying again.
However, two years on, those figures have changed drastically, with only 4.8 per cent of buyers planning to buy a car within the next three months, and 47.5 per cent expecting to wait more than two years.
BuyaCar said that while declining sales have rarely been attributed so closely to Brexit in the last two years, it says its data shows consumers are holding back. Six per cent of those questioned said they would ‘wait and see what happens’ at the time of the referendum before buying their new vehicle, but today that figure has risen to ten per cent.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, recently described the UK automotive sector as being on ‘red alert’ against the backdrop of a potential no-deal Brexit.
He said: “Brexit uncertainty has already done enormous damage to output, investment and jobs.
“Yet this is nothing compared with the permanent devastation caused by severing our frictionless trade links overnight, not just with the EU but with the many other global markets with which we currently trade freely.”
Austin Collins, managing director of BuyaCar, said: “Even as we announce these figures it’s against the backdrop of another series of Parliamentary votes that seem to take us no further forward in understanding how Brexit will affect everybody.
“We believe it is this continued uncertainty rather than the idea of Brexit itself that has finally made consumers err on the side of caution about their immediate plans to change cars.
“When we first began measuring consumer sentiment in relation to Brexit it was clear that the vast majority of car buyers weren’t worried and that was reflected in the large number who were intending to start shopping for a car in the next few months. The way that figure has plummeted from 20% to less than five per cent, as people wait to understand what Brexit looks like, comes as little surprise.”