Blog: Car industry points to an economy on the move

Time 1:02 pm, March 1, 2012

I’m starting to hear some positive things on the car industry grape vine which might suggest the economy isn’t as bad as we all feared.

Twice now this week I’ve heard from dealers that new car sales are bucking the trend, especially for the new 12-plate.

The first one that caught my attention was from Vertu Motors. Yesterday we reported on their March 12-plate order take which is up 10 per cent on last year. And the good news is it’s retail buyers driving that demand.

I’ve also been out and about a lot in the last few days and dealers are reporting positive signs around the UK. One meeting revealed that although used car sales are tough, as finding stock at the right price is extremely difficult, buyers are instead turning to new cars.

A number of contacts have reported new car sales this year are up considerably on 2011. A contact at a prestige German marque told me their site had topped 100 new cars in January against a previous record of 70 with February looking similarly positive.


These are extremely good signs for the new car industry. With new car sales starting to increase, the flow of used cars taken in part exchange will start to improve – something that’s desperately needed.

One auction house we spoke to this week said a sale this week had half the number of cars it would normally have to sell, simply because supply is drying up. While this is good news for residual values, it’s not good news for dealers looking to replenish empty forecourts.

However, let’s stick with the positives. Followers of Car Dealer Magazine’s Social Media User of the Year, Marshall’s chief exec Daksh Gupta, will know he’s a staunch supporter of promoting good news – and his tweets this week have been full of it.

He’s tweeted about the Bank of England reporting mortgage lending increased in January and more importantly on his new car order take too, one of which said: ‘Last week and the previous week Marshall recorded our best ever and third best ever order take! Recession is all about mindset and attitude!’

And, to be honest, I must say I’m inclined to agree with him. Cast your mind back four or five weeks and the media was reporting we were heading for another recession – that’s looking more and more unlikely. And with the car industry – a big ticket purchase industry – looking brighter, there may just be hope for us all…

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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