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Car dealers call on Government support for motor industry following Covid-19

17 September 2020

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  • A quarter (25%) of car dealers are keen to see a reduction in business rates as the UK recovers from the impact of Covid-19 
  • One in five (19%) want to see current support measures phased out, rather than a hard stop
  • And others are calling for motor-specific policies like changes to the diesel/petrol ban and support for manufacturers

95% of car dealers are confident their business will survive the impact of Coronavirus, according to new research by Close Brothers Motor Finance. The study, conducted in June as lockdown measures saw showrooms reopening, found that well over half (55%) of dealers felt ‘completely confident’ about the survival of their business. But three in ten (29%) dealers admit they are worried about an economic downturn, made more pertinent by the UK going into recession. And 13% are worried about a second wave of Coronavirus.

To combat some of the challenges that lie on the road to recovery, the motor industry is looking to the Government for additional support. A quarter of dealers (25%) are calling for a reduction in business rates, and a fifth (19%) would like to see the current measures phased out rather than brought to a hard stop. 

Despite almost a quarter of dealers (23%) being worried about stock availability, only 4% are calling on the government for increased support for car manufacturers. And beyond COVID-19, more than one in ten (12%) would like to see changes to the timeline on the diesel petrol ban, brought forward from 2040 to 2030 earlier this year. 

gov support table

Seán Kemple, Managing Director at Close Brothers Motor Finance commented: “No person, company, or sector has gone unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic. For the motor industry, the lockdown came just as optimism was improving following a tricky few years. Dealers have been hit hard, but they’re resilient; if anything, now is the chance to build back better and improve the sector for years to come. 

“To do this, Government support is vital. Emergency measures such as cuts to business rates, the furlough scheme, and frozen fuel duties, have been invaluable. As the lockdown continues to lift, all attention is on how to keep the UK recession as short as possible, working towards a V-shaped recovery. Measures which help the motor industry will have a knock-on effect to manufacturing, retail, and unemployment, so it’s crucial that the Government, dealers, manufacturers, and finance providers work together to find a solution as quickly as possible.” 
 

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