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Millions delaying buying a car because of economic uncertainty, according to report

3 weeks ago

Nearly two-fifths of drivers say they are more likely to put off buying a car because of the pandemic and Brexit.

That’s according to Close Brothers Motor Finance’s 2021 Britain Under The Bonnet report published today (Apr 14), with the company saying that equates to 9.3m car-buying plans being put on hold.

The poll of 2,000 UK drivers found that 38 per cent of them were looking to delay purchasing as a result of economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis and the UK leaving the EU – up from 22 per cent the year before.


However, nearly three in 10 (29 per cent) said they hadn’t been swayed by the Covid crisis, with 37 per cent opting for a car mainly to avoid using public transport.

Meanwhile, 14 per cent are more likely to buy a used car, 12 per cent intended looking for a cheaper vehicle and the same percentage had brought forward their plans to buy.

Eight per cent are both more and less likely to use finance to buy a car.

Younger people appear to have been hit especially hard by the pandemic’s impact on employment and financial health.


Just 10 per cent of those aged 17 to 24 and 15 per cent of 25-to-34-year-olds said economic uncertainty hadn’t affected how they thought about buying a car, with the figure rocketing to 45 per cent of drivers aged over 55.

Seán Kemple, managing director of Close Brothers Motor Finance, said: ‘2020 was set to be a year of recovery for the UK’s motor industry, but instead Covid-19 brought, as with so many other sectors, unparalleled challenges.

‘We will recover, and we must seize the opportunity to ‘‘build back better’’.

‘Many trends in our sector have been accelerated, and we’ll start to see the real impact of the speed of change as we move through this year.’

He added: ‘Some customers will be relatively unchanged in their car-buying and usership habits this year, but others will have made drastic changes to their lives and their plans for the future.

‘More customers than before are likely to be classed as vulnerable, having lost their jobs, seen a fall in their disposable income or experienced health problems.

‘This means the sales process will need to be more personalised and more considered – and dealers might need more hands-on support from their finance partner to ensure the sale is in the best interests of them and their customers.’

John Bowman

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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