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Recession is biggest threat in 2017, survey reveals

Paul Kaye, Close Brothers Motor Finance

A quarterly dealer satisfaction survey has uncovered evidence that 63% of dealerships are positive about business prospects for 2017 - but 43% fear a recession.

Close Brothers Motor Finance quarterly dealer satisfaction survey found a posititive outlook among most of the 750 surveyed dealerships, with 47% stating that new finance products would be the largest area of growth opportunity for their business.

But almost half (43%) of those surveyed thought the prospect of the UK economy going into a recession was the greatest threat to their business over the coming 12 months.

The continual telephone survey undertaken by Close Brothers Motor Finance reports back on its findings on a monthly and quarterly basis.

The latest iteration of the survey – undertaken in September and October – asked dealers about their performance over the past six months, their prospects for the year ahead, and what they see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for their business.

Almost half (47%) of dealers see the proliferation of new finance products as the biggest opportunity for the year ahead.

The second and third biggest perceived opportunities for their business were changing consumer behaviour (33%) and rising affordability of motor vehicles (31%).

The survey also looked to analyse the performance of dealers over the last six months and found that 42% are performing better since the Brexit vote.

Two-in-five (40%) dealerships say their business is operating the same, and only 15% state that their business is performing worse overall than it was six months ago.

Paul Kaye, sales and marketing director, Close Brothers Motor Finance, said:  “Dealers’ positivity about their current and future business levels is promising, particularly given the heightened economic uncertainty we have been seeing over the past few months. 

“Despite these turbulent market conditions, consumer confidence remains resilient, with a record year of growth in the transactions for used vehicles for the year, and clearly this is benefitting dealerships across the nation.

“It is also no surprise that dealerships cite new financial products as the biggest opportunity for their business. The more financing options that are available from providers in showrooms, the greater likelihood that customers will leave their forecourt with a vehicle on that day.

“With consumers increasingly taking advantage of the high levels of ‘nearly-new’ stock that has been flooding the market of late, dealerships that maintain and grow their understanding of changing consumer behaviour and the opportunities that arise from these changes will continue to flourish.”

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