BAKER Tilly is warning motor dealers to brace themselves for further trading challenges in the coming months.
The latest edition of the firms motor sector briefing, Forward Drive, highlights that 2011 will be more challenging than other commentators are suggesting, following concerning signs in this first quarter.
The company singles out consumer anxiety on spend due to inflation and 20 per cent VAT rise, soaring fuel prices, shortage of used car stock, and expected mortgage rate increases later in 2011.
Fuel prices rising to £6 a gallon, the increased VAT rate, and the ending of the scrappage could see a 15 per cent reduction in new car sales compared to 2010, says the firm.
Baker Tilly’s predictions are echoed by The Nielson Company, and the British Retail Consortium who reported that 27 per cent of individuals have no spare cash and their confidence levels have suffered the largest drop in nearly 20 years.
Graham Bushby, head of motor for Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery, said: ‘The going is likely to get a lot tougher for the industry in the year ahead.
‘Change happens very quickly in the motor industry; simply waiting for the market to recover is not the step to take for a well-managed dealership.
‘Consumers alike will be thinking carefully about their spend. Petrol process will be high in the list for consideration, which will impact on your decision on what vehicle to purchase.’