Important update

Motor Dealers still looking to invest despite rising costs

Jan 29, 2024 Insights Read time 5m
Cars on forecourt


Despite economic uncertainty, rising costs and business challenges, motor dealers are still looking to invest in their forecourts this year, according to Close Brothers Motor Finance’s Forecourt Foresight research. 

Of those who plan to invest in their business this year, more than two-thirds (67%) are planning to boost their stock. Almost three in ten (29%) dealers will invest in online and digital platforms, particularly as consumers are increasingly looking online for vehicles, and the same number (29%) will enhance their showroom. 

The ongoing cost-of-living crisis (82%), lack of stock availability (29%), and energy prices (26%) are amongst some of the biggest challenges for dealers this year. Yet, despite these concerns, one-in-five (18%) are still planning to hire additional staff, and one in eight (16%) will boost staff training and development. 

Despite the gradual shift towards alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs), just 4% of dealers are planning on installing charging points on their forecourts. 

Just 16% of dealers said that they are not planning any investments of any kind this year. For a quarter (25%) of dealers this is because none of their business plans require additional investment, whilst almost one in five (19%) confirm they’ve already recently invested in their business. 

The turbulent market combined with economic challenges was also cited as reasons for no investment. Two in five dealers (41%) confirm there’s too much economic uncertainty, whilst more than one in ten (13%) cite the time not being quite right. 

Lisa Watson, Director of Sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, commented: “Although the car market is buoyant and the latest new registration figures have remained resilient, there’s an array of challenges impacting dealers up and down the country - from the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and soaring energy bills to difficulties obtaining stock. But the good news is that dealers are still looking to enhance their business with investment, which we can support them with through our stock funding. And, many of those who aren’t planning to invest may have either done so recently or their plans simply don’t require further investment. 

“As dealers look to the year ahead, the boost to their businesses, as well as data driven insights to ensure consumer demand is met, will play an increasingly important role in making sure dealers see sustained sales and a boost to their bottom line.”

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