Despite various motor retailers reporting record sales, Close Brothers Motor Finance’s latest Britain Under The Bonnet report slaps us across the face like a fresh haddock, saying that Covid-19 has polarised car buyers, as over a third (38%) of drivers are more likely to delay buying a car due to the economic uncertainty caused by Covid and Brexit.
On the other hand, the report also says that 12% have brought forward their buying plans.
The latest edition of the authoritative annual report reveals that the number of people delaying their buying plans due to economic uncertainty has almost doubled in a year (from 22% to 38%) and that it’s not just timing of purchase that’s under pressure, it’s the make and model of car, with 14% of drivers more likely to buy a used car and 12% going for a cheaper one.
Thank goodness for the youth of today, then, where a quarter of 17-24 year olds say they intend to buy a car sooner than they’d planned. We’re all aware that younger people have been hit hard by the pandemic’s economic impact and this is reflected in the report, showing that only 10% of those aged 17-24, and 15% of those aged 25-34, reckon that their car-buying plans are not affected by the current economic uncertainty.
Despite a third of motorists feeling hesitant about purchasing a new vehicle, consumers across all age groups admitted that they do intend to turn to their cars more often – well over a third (37%) of drivers say they’re going to drive more this year. Many (20%) cite a reticence to use public transport.
Conversely, 33% of drivers will drive less, including 39% of those aged 55+ and 37% of 45-54 year olds. The main motivators for this are people leaving the house less (20%) and a lower expectation to commute (18%).
Seán Kemple, Managing Director of Close Brothers Motor Finance commented: “2020 was set to be a year of recovery for the UK’s motor industry, but instead Covid-19 brought, as with so with many other sectors, unparalleled challenges. We will recover, and we must seize the opportunity to ‘build back better’. Many trends in our sector have been accelerated, and we’ll start to see the real impact of the speed of change as we move through this year.”