It may have escaped your attention, but the UK automotive industry is doing really rather well. The news has slipped under the radar while the media is awash with geopolitical turmoil and the ongoing civil war within the Conservative party, but last month the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) indicated that car sales in February were up 8.4% year-on-year. In addition, sales also rose for 43 months in a row up to October 2015, when the VW emissions scandal came to light. But what’s causing the growth and what does it mean for professionals in the industry?
The UK has historically been a world leader in at least one industry. In the past it was heavy industry, then financial services and now the automotive sector has stepped up to take the mantle. The impressive rise of the industry has been attributed to a range of factors, not least an upturn in the economy, which has raised consumer confidence. This, combined with low interest rates and the promotion of finance packages, has encouraged people to invest in new cars. In fact, research suggests that 80% of new registrations in 2015 were supported by these deals. Of course, low fuel prices have also contributed and motivated those who may have held off from investing into buying a new vehicle. Analysts also highlight that residual, pent-up demand from the days of the financial crisis has a part to play.