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As showrooms reopen, UK car industry eyes up £22bn lost in turnover during pandemic

3 weeks ago

Getting customers through showroom doors is key for the UK automotive industry to recoup billions of pounds lost through lockdowns, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has said.

Latest analysis by the SMMT reveals that there are now 462 individual car models available in around 4,650 standard specifications, and on offer with an almost infinite number of options.

The SMMT says that with zero-emission cars accounting for one in three available models, buyers will have a ‘near limitless choice of mobility options as lockdown restrictions are eased’.

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Buyers will also be able to ‘tap directly into dealer expertise to identify the vehicle, power source and specification best suited for their needs’, a statement said.

The organisation also said that consumes choosing cleaner cars is crucial to the UK reaching its emission reduction goals.

The average new car in 2020 emitted 21.7 per cent less CO2 than its 2010 counterpart, the SMMT said.

With the widest and greenest choice of cars ever seen, unleashing pent-up consumer demand can accelerate the industry’s recovery and that of the economy

There are concerns, however, that despite the variety available and anticipated consumer demand, a full recovery by the end of the year remains highly challenging.

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New car registrations during Q1 2021 were 37.1 per cent down on the average for 2010-2019, and for levels to return to ‘normal’ by the end of the year would require keys to a new car being handed over every 12 seconds.

The sector has also weathered a £22.2bn loss in turnover from new car registrations since March 2020.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘After one of the hardest years in living memory for everyone, reopening showrooms today takes the handbrake off UK auto.

‘With the widest and greenest choice of cars ever seen, unleashing pent-up consumer demand can accelerate the industry’s recovery and that of the economy.

‘As the automotive sector counts the cost of £22.2bn lost in turnover during the pandemic, we hope today marks the start of that recovery, as well as giving consumers ever more choice for their motoring needs.’

 

 

James Batchelor

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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