Domestic car sales down. Exports up. Is Brexit to blame?

The new car market has continued its decline with the fifth consecutive monthly fall in registrations. While August saw a 6.4% decline in sales compared with last year, in stark contrast British car manufacturing gained a boost, with a 7.8% rise in the previous month. August is typically one of the quietest months of the year for new car sales, as buyers await the new September plate, but the fall has dragged year to date sales down 2.4% compared with last year.

One of the issues affecting both domestic sales and manufacturing is Brexit, as consumer and business confidence is knocked with uncertainty surrounding negotiations. Meanwhile, the weakened pound is encouraging a rise in British exports, with a 5.3% increase in vehicles shipped abroad. Almost 80% of new cars rolling off UK production lines were sent overseas, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which also provided figures on new car registrations.


For further information on new car registrations in August, visit the SMMT website.


What does the SMMT have to say?

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The fall in consumer and business confidence is having a knock-on effect on demand in the new car market and the government must act quickly to provide concrete plans regarding Brexit.

“August is typically a quiet month for the new car market as consumers and businesses delay purchases until the arrival of the new number plate in September. With the new 67-plate now available and a range of new models in showrooms, we anticipate the continuation of what are historically high levels of demand.”

On the rise in manufacturing, he added: “UK car production lines stepped up a gear in July, as usual bringing forward some production to help manage demand ahead of September and routine summer factory shutdowns.”


How can car retailers stabilise their revenues?

While September will likely witness the usual annual sales bump, car retailers can help stabilise their revenues throughout the year by broadening their offering. Motoring financial aftercare products such as extended warranty, GAP insurance and MOT test cover provide new routes to market and help boost customer retention.


Car Care Plan has produced a guide to motoring financial aftercare to provide you with impartial advice and guidance. You will find information on:

  • What financial aftercare products are available
  • How those products are regulated
  • Top tips for improving your aftercare sales
  • The benefits of selling key financial services
  • Advice on what your customers are looking for.


Download our free eBook today: A guide to motoring financial aftercare