Nearly half of all drivers are set to delay their next vehicle purchase, with one in four of those blaming Brexit, according to exclusive research for Britain’s leading weekly automotive title, Autocar, conducted by Simpson Carpenter.
The research follows another month of declining UK vehicle sales, with the latest Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures showing new car registrations in April were down by 4.1%.
Market research firm Simpson Carpenter interviewed more than 1000 car buyers on behalf of Autocar. The data collected showed that, of those looking to delay their next vehicle purchase, 39% are doing so due to economic concerns – including the uncertainty associated with the UK leaving the European Union. Luxury car buyers are the most apprehensive – 51% have delayed their purchase, with one in three of them blaming Brexit for their delay.
The hiatus will have a long-term effect on the UK’s vehicle market, as 31% of buyers now say they will delay their purchase until the long-run effects of Brexit become clear.
UK buyers are also expected to shift their brand preferences after Brexit. One in five drivers said they would purchase a different make due to Brexit, with many favouring brands with UK manufacturing plants.
Ford, which has an engine manufacturing facility in Dagenham and Toyota, which manufactures vehicles in the UK, are likely to be among the net winners. French and German brands are the likely net losers. This includes BMW, despite its Mini plant in Oxford.
Mark Tisshaw, editor of Autocar, said: “Since the very beginning of the Brexit debate, the UK’s automotive industry has had a very clear stance – leaving the EU without a trade agreement in place would hurt sales and productivity. With half of all car buyers now delaying their purchase, we are one step closer to what the industry has been warning about us for years.
“On a positive note, Brexit could see Brits starting to purchase more vehicles built here in the UK, helping plants like Sunderland stay in business.”