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Dealers confident for the year ahead as Brexit worries dwindle

25 February 2020


New research from Close Brothers Motor Finance reveals that nearly all UK car dealers (98%) are confident about the business outlook for their dealership, whilst almost two thirds (63%) are ‘very confident’. 

Despite a difficult 2019 for the motor industry, the findings paint a picture of business optimism. In the aftermath of Britain’s exit from the EU, a third of dealers (35%) see Brexit as the biggest threat to their business over the next 12 months, a significant drop of 12% from the previous three months (at 47%). Contrastingly, under a tenth (9%) see Brexit as the biggest opportunity, a drop from 13% in the past three months, indicating dwindling interest in the Brexit story.

The research also reveals that 13% of dealers are especially positive about the opportunities for business growth. Dealers cited a range of opportunities in 2020, with 7% expanding their offering to new types of vehicles, namely electric cars, and 7% keen to maintain stability. 

On the flip side, a tenth (9%) of dealers are concerned about how economic downturn will affect their business, and 7% worry about stock availability. 

Top 5 opportunities and threats for car dealers in 2020

Dealer sat table

Sean Kemple, Director of Sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance said: “2019 was a challenging year for the motor industry. The 2.4% drop in year on year new sales reflected the impact of Brexit uncertainty continuing to loom over consumer confidence.

“But the results of our Dealer Satisfaction Survey show that hope is far from lost. We’ve driven past the first bump in the Brexit saga, and dealers are excited about the growth of their business and the opportunities for expansion of stock. Used dealerships have seen a boost with drivers looking to cut costs, a trend expected to continue this year. With the petrol and diesel ban coming into effect in 2035, all eyes will be on the new government to help stabilise the industry as the market shifts, offering increased investment in infrastructure and clarity on regulation and taxes. 

“Car dealers are the backbone of the car industry, so it’s encouraging to see high levels of confidence, but equally vital that they are properly supported. When they are, they’re perfectly placed to in turn provide valuable support and expertise to buyers.”

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