15.01.10: Counting the cost of the wintry weather

Time 12 years ago

4181701715_626aeed53bIS IT just me or does it feel like the year hasn’t even started yet? The recent cold snap seems to be thawing, but what cost has it had on trade?

I know we’ve had trouble getting hold of people across the UK since the start of the year. Huge numbers of people don’t seem to be at work and many dealerships around the UK have been closed for some time.

I read some interesting posts on the internet recently from Glass’s Guide which looked at what effect this wintry chill has had on car sales.

No one wants to go out and buy a car in the freezing weather we’ve had – walking to the shops for a loaf of bread was bad enough – so are we looking at a disastrous January?

What is traditionally a time for restocking forecourts has been instead taken up with clearing snow from forecourts and hunting for customers.

Walk-in trade was dead for much of the last two weeks, say the dealers I’ve been chatting to. And with VAT back up to it’s 17.5 per cent level and price rises from most marques, customers are few and far between.

All in, that doesn’t bode well for new car registrations this month.


Much has been said about 2010 being tougher than 2009 and, with scrappage coming to an end, this recent bout of bad weather has only compounded the situation.

Now we’re playing a game of catch up before the year has even begun.

I’d like to think, as the white stuff disappears, things will quickly get back to normal, customers will come out of hibernation and sales will start flowing again.

To be honest, the last thing we all need is the end of scrappage – and the last portion of funds from the government being rationed – that’s why next month we’ll be focussing on what the industry will look like post-scrap.

We’ll be chatting to firms that can help keep your balance sheets healthy, will be hearing from industry figures as to what they think the end of the scheme will mean, and quizzing car makers on their marketing plans to help dealers overcome this hurdle.

From what we’ve been told already there are lots of initiatives out there that can help – make sure you’ve subscribed to get next month’s mag so you don’t miss out.


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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