Used cars, people view cars on forecourt at Motorpoint Oldbury, 1st June 2020, via PAUsed cars, people view cars on forecourt at Motorpoint Oldbury, 1st June 2020, via PA


Car buyers splash the cash as drivers spend £57.4bn on vehicle purchases in 2023

  • Spending on cars rising three times faster than for public transport fares
  • AA claims new figures highlight how vital motoring is for UK consumers and the country’s finances
  • Buyers spent an enormous £57.4bn on new and used cars last year

Time 11:07 am, July 4, 2024

Car buyers spent an eye-watering £57.4bn on new and used vehicles in 2023, marking a significant surge in money heading to dealers.

AA analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics data has found that spending on car purchases was up 6% on where it was five years ago – the last full year of trading before Covid.

It means that spending in the motor trade has risen three times faster than for public transport journeys over the past five years.

Consumer spending on public transport – including rail, buses, taxis, air and water travel – was £60.9bn last year, representing a 2% increase over the same period.

Running a car also accounted for a large chunk of the £78.6bn spent on what is described as the ‘operation of personal transport’, with spending on fuel and lubricants up 20% since 2018 to £41.7bn.

AA head of roads policy Jack Cousens claimed the figures highlight how vital motoring is for people in the UK, as well as the country’s finances.

He told the PA news agency: ‘These latest ONS figures underline the UK’s reliance on cars and the huge amounts of money they generate for the economy – not to mention VAT on that spending, and other tax.

‘Cars are not just necessary but essential on so many levels.

‘Even if a significant amount of car use was transformed into take-up of public transport, the impact on the economy and other income generation would be dramatic.

‘Just think how much councils would lose if a high percentage of cars stopped turning up to their car parks or needing parking permits, and getting fined.

‘The key question is whether what consumers spend on cars would translate into income for public transport and cover the cost of infrastructure investment to enable that.

‘It seems that getting travelling consumers to fork out for their own transport and its maintenance, and then tax the heck out of them, is a pretty good deal for the public purse.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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