By Richard Jones, managing director, Black Horse (pictured)
I commented last month that September was likely to be an interesting month and it did not let us down.
SMMT figures released at the start of October looked positive, with a 1.3% year-on-year increase for the month of September.
However, this needs to be read in the context of September 2018 being more than 20% down on the prior year as a result of the implementation of WLTP. Registrations in September 2019 were broadly in line with those experienced in September 2008-2011, and 25% below levels achieved in 2015-16.
Uncertainty around Brexit is customers’ main concern and it is significantly impacting upon car sales.
Additionally, September van registrations were almost 25% down on the same month last year, indicating a significant slowdown in the corporate markets also.
There has, however, been good news too, as we have seen growth in all electric vehicle (EV) and alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) registrations.
They now account for 8.7% of registrations YTD, up from 6.2% this time last year. It is great to see customers taking up cleaner energy options, and within the automotive industry we have a powerful role to further support the Government’s “Net Zero” agenda.
An interesting area for focus is the renewed role fleets could play in driving EV adoption and, in doing so, reversing company car fleet decline over time as EVs scale up.
Within the personal space, it is about education – we find many customers remain confused or have range anxiety, which is hindering their decision-making processes.
Over the coming years, we will see vast changes as the Government improves the necessary infrastructure, and we can help to alleviate myths and provide reassurance to customers.
As announced in September, Glasgow will host a United Nations climate change summit next year, known as COP26.
Our industry has a pivotal role in supporting the UK to be at the forefront of climate change discussion and I am excited about the opportunities that are in store for us.