• Brand new Insight Report for 2018
  • Talking Points:
  • Used car market forecast to reach 8.07 million units in 2018
  • 2.5% rise forecast in used car market growth in Q1 2019
  • Further dealer consolidation expected in 2019

The key trends impacting the car retailing sector in 2018 and future trends for 2019 and beyond are identified and analysed in the first ever “Insight Report” from Cox Automotive and Grant Thornton UK LLP, published today.

UK dealers have proved the resilience of their used car operations in 2018, despite strong economic and political headwinds, and a challenging new car market for franchised dealers.

The annual Insight Report identifies evolving retail, wholesale and dealer group trends from across the automotive sector using previously unpublished data and analysis from Cox Automotive and Grant Thornton.

Key forecast and findings include:

  • the used car market will reach 8.07 million units in 2018, a marginal year-on-year decline of -0.5%, despite the impact on consumer confidence caused by ongoing economic and political uncertainty;
  • the fall in new car sales as a result of WLTP will have an impact on supply of used vehicles in Q4;
  • used car sales will rise by 2.5% in Q1 2019 to 2.08 million units, which will help boost the performance of franchised dealers, independent dealers and car supermarkets;

“Car retailers faced challenging trading conditions in 2018, with ongoing uncertainty over Brexit and demonisation of diesel damaging consumer confidence. The introduction of the new WLTP regime in September also impacted the supply of new stock,” said Philip Nothard Cox Automotive’s Customer Insight & Strategy Director.

“However, car retailers across the board showed great resilience with many achieving uplifts because of the strategic focus they placed on growing their used car and aftersales operations. Dealers who achieved strong used car performances in 2018 will be ideally-placed to start 2019 in a strong position, especially as we forecast a rise in used sales in Q1.”

The “Insight Report” also identifies trends shaping current and future buying behaviour as the provision of mobility and usership services become a viable alternative to outright ownership. It also shows the impact of dealer consolidation and the expected influence of mobility as a service on consumers in the future.

Nothard commented: “The pace of change is unprecedented in the automotive market. Our “Insight Report” presents some of the key challenges facing the industry and highlights several trends set to shape the market. Data will increasingly play a more important role in decision-making in the sector. We want to help customers embrace these changes and, using insight, make predictions to help them navigate uncertainty and strategically help businesses to create a sustainable and profitable future for themselves.”

Owen Edwards, associate director from Grant Thornton Automotive Advisory, added: “The automotive industry is experiencing a number of challenges in the retailing and the manufacturing of vehicles. We stand on the cusp of a fundamental change to how goods and people move around urban and rural areas of the UK and the world. This change has generated rapid growth in electric and autonomous vehicles and mobility. All periods of great disruption create opportunities and, to survive, the automotive industry must react and evolve with this change as it has in the past.”

To request a copy of the full report, please email louise.woods@rmif.co.uk