UK car industry – demand not hit by Brexit vote yet, forecast unchanged

29 Jun, 2016 6:42 pm

LONDON – UK car dealerships saw the same number of customers over the weekend as before Britons voted for Brexit last week, Britain’s car industry association said on Wednesday, noting that it would not change its forecast for record sales this year.

Car sales hit an all-time high of 2.63 million last year, boosted by cheap finance and easily available credit.

The CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said the pace of sales growth had slowed in recent months but that he was not immediately changing the forecast of about 2.7 million registrations in 2016.

“I wouldn’t want to jump to conclusions on changing forecasts. In essence, the fundamentals of the market are still strong,” Mike Hawes told reporters at a briefing in London.

“As I understand it, footfall in the dealerships over the weekend was pretty much where it should be despite three rugby test matches and six football matches which normally does have an impact.”

At the same briefing, Jaguar Land Rover’s strategy director and Toyota’s Europe CEO said they saw no short-term changes to their investment plans, which are often made years in advance.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), which said it was committed to its British plants and a plan to build a new facility in Slovakia, said it could not envisage a harsh response such as high tariffs from EU allies on it or Britain’s other high-end carmakers.

“I can’t imagine any overly punitive measure in the premium end of the business that would cut off that market opportunity,” JLR’s Strategy Director, Adrian Hallmark, said.

“It would be cutting the European nose off to spite its face.” –Reuters

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