Following reports issued this week by the SMMT that new car sales fell in October by the biggest decline since May 2009, British Car Auctions (BCA), has released data on motorists’ plans to replace their car. The research shows a surprising regional variance in car buying plans – and priorities for motorists when they do buy again.
Whilst 54% of motorists across the UK said they will not be replacing their car during the economic downturn, this dropped to just 38% for Londoners.
Motorists in East Anglia are the least likely to replace their car currently – nearly two thirds (64%) said they have no plans to replace and when they do, nearly a third (32%) will be looking for a car with better fuel consumption.
Concern about fuel prices seems to be most pressing for motorists in the East Midlands. Whilst just over half (51%) do not plan to replace their car in the near future, when they do, 42% will be looking for better fuel consumption. This compares to a national average of 31%.
High proportions of motorists from the South West, North West and Yorkshire & Humberside are also holding off any plans to replace their vehicle – each at 62%. But there is quite a disparity when it comes to the effect of higher fuel prices amongst motorists in these regions.
In Yorkshire & Humberside and the North West it appears to a less pressing concern with 28% and 29% of motorists in these regions respectively saying they will be looking for a car with better fuel consumption when they next buy. But for those in the South West it’s a much bigger worry – with 40% saying better fuel consumption will be the main criteria for choosing their next car.
Across the rest of the UK there seems to be a little more financial confidence although in most cases still over half of motorists don’t plan to replace their current vehicle in the near future. 49% of motorists in the North don’t plan to replace, closely followed by those in Scotland and the West Midlands at 50%. In the East Midlands just over half (51%) are not making any plans to change their car in the near future and 53% in the South East are playing a waiting game.
Tim Naylor, BCA spokesman commented “Given the continuing economic pressures, the reticence of motorists to commit to their next vehicle purchase is understandable, but the variance in attitudes of motorists across the regions does show a changing picture of consumer confidence. Of course, for many their car is absolutely crucial to their livelihood, for getting to and from work and getting the family around. If their current car becomes uneconomical to run or repair, you can be sure funds will be found from somewhere to replace it.