Caution Urged Over Motor Industry Bounceback

Wed 5th Aug 2020

The British car buying public may be back in the market for a new motor if data from a leading industry body is to be believed.

The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders revealed that July’s figures for new registrations was higher than the same month in 2019, the first time there has been an increase since December last year.

But industry insiders are warning that the figures may be really reflecting the pent-up demand from consumers who have had to wait months to buy their new car following lockdown.

“July’s figures are positive, with a boost from demand pent up from earlier in the year and some attractive offers meaning there are some very good deals to be had,” said the SMMT’s chief executive, Mike Hawes. “We must be cautious, however, as showrooms have only just fully reopened nationwide and there is still much uncertainty about the future.

“By the end of September, we should have a clearer picture of whether or not this is a long-term trend. Although this month’s figures provide hope, the market remains fragile in the face of possible future spikes and localised lockdowns as well as, sadly, probable job losses across the economy. The next few weeks will be crucial in showing whether or not we are on the road to recovery.”

One of the UK’s biggest motoring employers, Ford, have suggested that unless the government intervenes then there will be no recovery until next summer at the earliest. Ford received a £500m loan guarantee in July and speaking to the BBC’s Today programme the company’s managing director for Britain, Andy Barratt said: “I don't think this is a long term indication of a V-shaped recovery.

“I think that there will be reasonable demand through September, when the registration plate changes, but without government intervention this sector won't recover until at least the middle of next year.”