Positive signs of vehicle supply, steadily improving inflation, and the retail performance of electric vehicles; all point to an uptick in fortunes over the next 12 months for the UK auto sector says Philip Nothard, Insight and Strategy Director at Cox Automotive.

“The end of 2022 saw an improvement in new vehicle supply,” he states. “Early signs indicate this will continue to be the case, with supply outstripping many previous forecasts. 

“It’s a similar picture for the economy. While current conditions are far from ideal, inflation levels are forecast to improve throughout the year, remaining ahead of Bank of England targets. This will strengthen consumer and business confidence, giving both the new and used car markets a much-needed boost. So we could be heading out of the doldrums at long last.”

Philip Nothard

In addition, views are shared by many of the automotive industry’s leading voices, including Mike Allen from financial services group Zeus Capital, Owen Edwards from accounting firm Grant Thornton and Steve Young from research organisation ICDP. Also providing insight is Tom Callow at renewable energy specialist myenergi, ahead of what Nothard believes could be a defining year for electric vehicles.

Nothard concludes: “The electrification of our vehicle parc is continuing at pace, but are we ready? Last year saw the largest percentage of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles sold to date and the biggest year-on-year growth in registrations. 

“There’s no doubt consumer behaviours are shifting, and manufacturer and fleet operator strategies are following suit. This has led to many popular models being no longer available and leaving this European market segment ripe for new Chinese brands to gain a footing. So there’s a lot to be optimistic and excited about.”

(This comment first appeared in Cox Automotive’s quarterly publication AutoFocus.)

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