Professor Garel Rhys and senior colleagues at the Centre of Automotive Industry Research in Cardiff suggest that the long-awaited post-recession recovery may never arrive because demand has reached a natural plateau. The experts also say the UK fleet industry's current pre-eminence will in future be eroded as corporate sales decline as a result of increasing taxation of the 'perk' element of all company cars.
In a report commissioned by Fleet News' sister publication Sewells International, Rhys and his colleagues say the steep decline in demand since the 1989 peak of 2.3 million new car sales should have been interpreted as a clear warning of more fundamental shifts in demand.
'European markets, including the UK, are saturated - even over-saturated to such an extent that the level of new car registrations growth of the 1980s will never be the same again,' says the report. The authors attribute faltering new car sales to a variety of factors - including job insecurity and depressed house prices.