An industry report has shown an overall decline in the confidence of dealers as the March Brexit deadline looms.
 The results from the Close Brothers Motor Finance’s Dealer Satisfaction Survey showed a shift in the proportion of dealers who said they were ‘very confident’ in the previous quarter, to ‘fairly confident’ now. Around 45% of dealers said they were ‘very confident’ (down from 60% in the previous quarter), while 48% said they were ‘fairly confident’ (up from 35%).
Brexit has now become an concern for 50% of dealers, according to the research. This figure is up from 35% in the previous quarter, and is double that of 6 months previously (26%). The issue of Britain’s impending departure from the European Union was listed a as a worry by five times as many dealers as the next issue on the list (the ban on diesel – 10%).
As Brexit rises in concern, only 4% of dealers have concerns about an economic downturn (down from 14% six months previously). Similarly, stock availability concerns affected just 4% of dealers, dropping from 10% the previous quarter.
Sean Kemple, director of sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, said: “Brexit is absolutely having an impact on dealers and consumers at the moment, there is no doubt about this. All eyes are on Westminster as we wait in hope of a satisfactory resolution to the ongoing uncertainty that we are currently facing.
“However, despite a steep rise in the proportion of dealers who currently see this as a threat, along with the other challenges such as the market’s confusion over fuel type, the vast majority are confident about the long term, with two-thirds able to point to specific opportunities in the months ahead.”
In January the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders repeated its warning on the risks of a no-deal Brexit to the UK car industry, after figures revealed that investment in the sector nearly halved in 2018.