Read Ian Plummer's response to January's new car registrations from the SMMT
Ian Plummer, Auto Trader Director:
“Despite the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) coming into force five months ago, there is every indication that many brands are still struggling to get the much-needed compliant stock to the frontline, placing real strain on retailers. However, we can see for some brands, such as Volvo and some of the Korean and Japanese marques, supply seems to be in good shape and has helped them to record a great start to the year.
“With the realities of Brexit edging ever closer, it’s even more important than usual for the industry to get a strong Q1 under their belt to futureproof against any eventuality. If the government fails to secure a deal with Brussels, consumers could be looking at a 10% increase in prices unless brands or retailers absorb tariff and exchange rate impacts in what are already wafer thin profit levels. That’s why in the run up to March’s plate change we’re likely to see some particularly attractive offers from brands hoping to entice consumers into showrooms before the UK’s official exit.
“The outlook for the industry in 2019 remains relatively positive. Last year we saw some emerging trends that will provide some exciting opportunities for retailers and manufacturers in the months ahead, not least the growing consumer appetite for alternatively fuelled vehicles and Personal Contract Hire deals. We’re confident that both have the potential to drive meaningful growth this year by opening up a wider demographic of customers.”