Government has announced their decision to expand London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) to cover the whole of London and from 29 August 2023, drivers will be expected to pay £12.50 a day to enter this boundary.
The Autumn Budget offers a balance of positive infrastructure measures and concerns over the support of car parc electrification, according to Sue Robinson, chief executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA). A variety of measures affecting the British automotive industry were set out in the Thursday 17 November Autumn Statement by the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt. “As a whole, the Autumn budget announced today promises growth and investment that the UK so desperately needs,” Robinson said. “Whilst there are positive notions in areas such as business rates and infrastructure investment, NFDA is concerned that the removal of tax exemption for EV owners could set back the objective of electrification and increasing the number of electric vehicles sold in the UK, in a bid to reach the ever-challenging 2030 targets.”
Following Prime Minster Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet reshuffle, on Wednesday 26 October, NFDA has written to the new Secretary of States for key Cabinet positions, highlighting the principal challenges the automotive industry is currently facing. Sue Robinson, chief executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents car and commercial retailers in the UK commented: “NFDA is the leading figure for automotive retailers in the UK and it is important we maintain our close relationship with Government in order to effectively voice the issues affecting our members. Reaching out to Government’s new ministers, highlighting the key issues currently impacting our sector, will give us a head start in addressing these issues and levelling up our industry.”
The light commercial vehicle (LCV) market grew by 10.8 per cent to 34,950 units in September – a popular month due to the plate change. Despite strong order books throughout 2022, September is the first month of growth in registrations this year, as supply disruptions have restricted model availability. The SMMT warned that this performance is artificially inflated versus 2021; this September remains -35.5 per cent below the five-year pre-pandemic average.
The UK new car market recorded its second successive month of growth in September (the second ‘plate change’ month of the year), with registrations rising 4.6 per cent, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). During what is typically the second biggest month of the year for the sector, 225,269 cars joined Britain’s roads. While this was a 9,957 unit increase on last year, when the industry recorded its weakest September since 1998, overall registrations for the month are still some -34.4 per cent below pre-pandemic levels as the industry continues to battle issues constraining supply to fulfil a backlog of orders.
The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK, has conducted the Dealer Attitude Survey twice a year since 1989. Commenting on the results of the NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey Summer 2022/2023 published on Monday 12 September 2022, Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the NFDA, said: “Despite the unprecedented challenges facing the automotive retail industry, it is optimistic to see our survey has revealed only marginal differences in manufacturer ratings. Franchised dealers show high levels of satisfaction in key business areas, particularly in used car margins and performance measures.”
The National Franchised Dealers Association has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP, urging support to mitigate the impact on UK automotive businesses of spiralling energy costs. Bills for auto dealers are expected to have risen 250 per cent by October. 94 per cent of the association’s members said the energy crisis will have a significant and detrimental impact on their business.
The Q2 figures for used car sales in the UK shows a substantial fall from the figure for 2021, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and traders. “The decline reflects the strength of the figures in 2021, the busiest quarter since records began. Franchised dealers continue to see strong demand in the used car segment driven by a combination of consumer demand and a lack of supply of new vehicles”, said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association.
New UK car registrations fell -20.6 per cent to 124,394 units in the second weakest May since 1992, after the 2020 pandemic-hit market, as supply shortages continued to hamper new purchases and the fulfilment of existing orders, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The decline, compared with the first full month of reopened showrooms in May last year, demonstrates the impact of continued global supply chain disruptions, with the market -32.3 per cent below the 2019 pre-pandemic level despite strong order books.
“As new car sales continue to be impacted by the ongoing supply constraints, it is encouraging to see that consumer appetite for second-hand vehicles remained robust in the first quarter of the year”, said Sue Robinson, chief executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), commenting on the latest SMMT’s used car figures. The UK’s used car market rose 5.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 with 1,774,351 transactions. There were 86,596 more cars changing hands compared to the same period in 2021. Despite this increase, used car transactions remain -12.2 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.
Commenting on the latest UK registration figures for vans, Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said; “Registrations of light commercial vehicles declined in March as supply constraints and subsequent product shortages continue to have a detrimental impact on the market; these issues are not only affecting automotive, but also other economy sectors, such as the construction industry, whose stability is vital to the van market.”
The National Franchised Dealers Association argues that there is cause for optimism in the new car sector based on strong consumer demand, despite a disappointing 1 per cent increase in new car registrations in 2021. Chief executive Sue Robinson said: “A poll conducted by NFDA revealed that 78.6 per cent of franchised vehicle dealers are optimistic about the level of demand in the year ahead as consumer confidence improves while we move through the pandemic and the electrification of the UK car parc continues apace.
The Government has announced a number of changes to the Plug-in Car Grant (PICG), the Plug-in Van Grant (PIVG) and the Plug in Motorcycle Grant (PIMG) rates and eligibility criteria. The new terms apply from 07:00 on Wednesday 15 December 2021. The Government has temporarily suspended the grant portal as we transition to the new rates.
NFDA Northern Ireland has responded to Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure’s consultation on proposals to carry out MOT tests every two years. Sue Robinson, NFDA NI chief executive said that moving to biennial testing “is not the correct solution to the issues currently facing the NI Testing Scheme.” She said that the solution to current capacity issues should not come “at the expense of road safety.” The proposals were put forward earlier this year with the region’s MOT testing capacity struggling to keep pace with demand.
Commenting on the SMMT’s figures for LCV registrations in May, Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) said: “It is extremely positive to see that light commercial vehicle registrations continued their upward trend with record sales in May, as increased confidence in the sector continues post lockdown.”