Thursday, 26 January 2017 GMT
Author: Staveley Head
The motor trade certainly faced some challenges throughout 2016, the most noticeable of these being BREXIT. After Britain voted to leave the EU, consumer confidence seemed dented, with many left uncertain as to what the future might hold for the motor trade. But with a strong end to 2016, perhaps things are not so gloomy after all, although there could be some more tough times ahead.
New Car Sales Set to Dip
Strong sales figures at the end of 2016 suggest that the fallout of BREXIT might have left the motor trade industry unharmed. But forecasts by KPMG are suggesting that motor traders dealing with new vehicles could be facing some tough times, with private car sales looking like they are going to fall.
Although the outlook for new car sales might not look as rosy in 2017 against last year, dealers are remaining optimistic, a survey by Close Brothers, of new and used car and motorcycle dealerships found that 63% of traders are still positive about their business prospects this coming year.
As manufactures continue to put pressure on dealerships to relocate businesses to more modern facilities, the demand for property is high. Both new and used car sites are required, although there still seems to be a lack of available sites, either already existing or in development.
Another factor that could affect motor traders in 2017 is the increase of rateable value, which will come into effect in April. The government base rateable value on the size and location of a domestic or commercial building, amongst other factors, to determine the rates the owner must pay.
Used Car Market Looks Strong
Buying a used car was a popular decision amongst consumers in 2016 and dealers are forecasting that used car market will remain strong in 2017. An article by MotorTrader.com states that many dealers (80%) believe that the market is likely to remain the same or even see an increase this year.
Technology in the motor trade is progressing rapidly; having an online presence is essential for car dealers. Customers want to be able to access information and buy effortlessly from the comfort of their sofa. Motor traders along with many other traders are now selling online, through either desktop or mobile devices. However, will 2017 bring the use of virtual reality in to showrooms? Jaguar Land Rover are already looking into this, equipping their dealers with VR technology to enable them to engage with their customers. This type of technology could also benefit city centre dealerships, where space is hard to come by.