Ford’s executives will watch carefully for signs that Brexit progress is damaging the UK’s new car market.
Jim Farley, chief executive of Ford of Europe, told AM it’s still too early to predict the impact of the decision to leave the EU, but he’s been heartened by the 2016 market’s volume holding flat, helped by slight growth in some segments such as rental.
But he warned the UK is starting to see pricing increases in other categories like food and health, and many carmakers adjusted prices in the autumn. “Will there be a headwind as that pricing accumulates, we don’t know. So far the UK market has continued to be very strong.”
Ford is planning for various outcomes. “We’ve been in the UK a long time and we’ve had lot of experience with sterling being strong and weak, so there are a lot of things we could do. The bottom line is we don’t know right now how this is going to play out,” Farley said.
Vice president of sales Jon Williams told AM across Europe there’s strength in Italy and Spain and the UK and German markets “are holding up”.
Brexit aside, changes in VED costs and to salary sacrifice schemes in first quarter 2017 could have an effect on the market, potentially driving the first quarter’s registrations as buyers beat the changes.
Then the UK NSCs will have to see how the remainder of the year plays out, he said. “Our outlook for next year is relatively positive at a European level,” he added.