Used car dealers in Wales say ‘ridiculous’ new 20mph speed limit could change the type of vehicles buyers want

  • Car Dealer asks how Wales’ new 20mph national speed limit will impact the motor trade
  • Dealers criticise ‘money box’ policy and say it could change the type cars people want to buy
  • Most do not think that sales will be directly affected by the controversial new measure

Time 8:39 am, September 19, 2023

Used car dealers in Wales say the country’s ‘ridiculous’ new 20mph speed limit could end up changing buyer behaviour.

The new measure officially came into play over the weekend, with national speed limits dropping from 30mph in the majority of built up areas.

The policy is said to be costing the Welsh government around £32.5m but it is hoped that will be outweighed by the reduced impact on the NHS and emergency services, which could save as much as £92m a year.

The change remains controversial and several independent retailers have spoken out against it to Car Dealer.

While the majority do not think the new laws will directly impact sales, some feel it could change the type of vehicle buyers are looking for.

Elsewhere, one firm told Car Dealer that the policy was just a ‘money box’ for the Welsh government.

Michael Milani of Just Drive (South Wales), in Cardiff, said: ‘No, I don’t think it will affect sales.

‘I think if people want vehicles, it’s not going to change them wanting them.

‘It might change what type of vehicles they might want more so than whether they come down to us or not.’

When asked how the new speed limits could change the industry, he said: ‘If anything, the commute to work.

‘I think people for the first few weeks will be figuring out different routes to drive or whether to leave 10-20 minutes earlier.

‘Other than that, I think no, nothing. That’s in terms of change of business/sales.’

A spokesman for Bob Davies Car Sales, which has dealerships in Ebbw Vale and Gwent, told Car Dealer yesterday (Sep 18): ‘It is absolutely ridiculous but I don’t think it will affect sales, in fact this morning we’ve been flat out.’

A boss at Carrera Car Sales in Aberdare added: ‘It is just a means to generate massive revenues. I can’t see the point—it’s a money box.’

Mark Drakeford, first minister of Wales, says that the new speed limit is primarily designed to reduce road collisions, road deaths, noise and pollution whilst encouraging more people to walk or cycle.

In Wales alone last year, over 1,000 people were killed or seriously injured on the roads with more than 40 per cent of those being hit on a highway with a 30mph speed limit.

As a result of the policy, around 30,000 road signs are set to be replaced and a whopping 7,700 miles of Wales’ roads will have the new speed limit imposed.

Just three per cent of 30mph roads will not be reducing their speed limits due to local authorities making exemptions.

Defending the 20mph speed limit, Lee Waters, deputy minister for climate change in Wales, denied it was aimed at making money for the Welsh government and insisted it would ‘save lives’.

He said: ‘It’s simple – slower speeds save lives and helps create safer communities for those that live there.

‘Evidence shows that a vehicle travelling at 30mph will still be travelling at 24mph in the time it would take a car travelling 20mph to stop.

‘We know decisions like this can be unpopular and we know that change is never easy, but what’s one minute on your journey time if it saves a life and reduces a lifetime of human misery for families affected.’

Reporter: Cameron Richards

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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