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Car buyers defer purchases due to rising living costs

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More than a third of in-market car buyers have decided to delay their purchase due to rising living costs.

A similar number of buyers have also reduced their budget for a replacement car, while 20% have switched from looking for a new car to a used model.

The research, carried out by What Car?, also found that 40% of buyers have changed either the make or model they’re considering due to the cost of living crisis, with 71% of those buyers considering a different make and model altogether, and 13% saying they’re now looking at a different model from the same manufacturer.

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: “Rising inflation is impacting the automotive sector with serious consequences. As our research shows, a significant share of buyers are revising their budgets, pushing back their vehicle purchase and considering different makes and models than before to offset the rising costs of living.”

Of those buyers who decided to defer their purchase, 48% said they are pushing it back by more than three months and 24% are delaying until next year.

When it comes to budget cuts, a quarter of the buyers who said they’ll spend less than they initially planned estimated a 10-15% reduction, while 23% will cut their spend by 20% or more.

What Car? also surveyed those who had bought a car, with 401 respondents taking part. A fifth (20%) told What Car? the cost of living crisis had impacted their decision. Of those impacted, 61% told What Car? they had bought a different make and model than they initially wanted. More than half (59%) of car owners surveyed said they had bought a new car, with the rest buying a used model. Of those who had bought a used car, 14% told What Car? they had initially intended to buy a new car, but had ended up in the used market in order to save money.

Data from eBay Motors shows the average price of a car advertised for sale declined by 4.7% in Q2, while Dealers’ average days to sell increased by nearly three full days, from 36.7 to 39.5 days, in June.

Speaking in AM’s recent General Managers’ Guide to ‘Holding the Right Stock’ webinar Car Shop chief executive Nigel Hurley said that the Sytner-owned business had adjusted its stock to include older, more affordable vehicles in response to vehicle shortages and the cost-of-living crisis.

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