The British automotive industry is set for a year of “volatility and uncertainty” in 2017, according to Paul Rutishauser, editor of Automotive Market Intelligence.

Addressing automotive industry professionals at the Sophus3 Forum 2017 in London last Thursday, Rutishauser warned the audience that the industry would not fare as well this year as it did in 2016.

He said: “The car market won’t be as healthy as it was last year, [and] it’s not going to get better anytime soon.”

He cautioned the audience that Brexit and the devaluation of sterling would prove to be major debilitating factors for car sales in 2017.

Rutishauser added: “Inevitably, in the second and third quarters of this year we are going to see price increases on consumer goods and cars, and that’s bound to have an impact. That’s bad news for everybody, because the UK is [Europe’s] second largest car market.”

Highlighting the abundance of cheap vehicle finance deals, he warned that this would create short-term risk, adding that UK household debt has risen beyond that of the Financial Crisis.

Rutishauser addressed the rise of non-traditional competitors such as Uber, stating “disruption is of an existential nature, it’s a game changer.”

Talking about the automotive industry’s shift towards providing vehicle services, he said that certain areas must be ‘protected’, and concluded with a recommendation that digitalisation was a way that automotive companies could meet upcoming challenges.

Rutishauser said: “[They] need to reinvent themselves as digital companies, [and] the first step is click-to-buy.”