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General Election to boost car sales?

Dealers face challenge after record first quarter.

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The General Election on 8th June could provide a timely boost to Britain’s new car market, according to the head of Kia UK.

Car sales in the UK mushroomed over the first three months of the year, due mainly to buyers rushing to beat new and generally more costly VED tax rates introduced on 1st April.

More than half a million cars changed hands in the quarter, and like several other manufacturers Kia enjoyed its biggest ever month of UK sales in March. This has led to speculation of a much more difficult second quarter for car dealers, and traditionally a General Election adds extra uncertainty.

Election easy to predict

But according to Kia UK president and CEO Paul Philpott this time the reverse could be true as the result of the election is much easier to predict than previously.

“The 8th June election will likely strengthen the Prime Minister’s hand, and could therefore add a lot more certainty boosting the end of the quarter for dealers,” Philpott tells The Car Expert.

More likely to put buyers off spending money on a new car in the rest of the year, Philpott contends, could be factors such as the continuing Brexit negotiations, elections in Europe and in particular a rise in interest rates, which he feels is inevitable if inflation remains high. “That first rise, even back to half a per cent will have a significant impact on many people who haven’t seen a rise since 2009, and could impact confidence,” he says.

Kia London
Kia like much of the industry has enjoyed a record start to 2017.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.