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Brexit anxiety - UK motorists fear Brexit will drive up new car costs

ALMOST half of British motorists fear Brexit will drive up the cost of owning a new car, a new independent study has revealed. With the UK's planned withdrawal initially pencilled in for March 29th and the Prime Minister's deal shrouded in doubt, uncertainty and anxiety among car consumers has spread like wildfire.

A new survey by leading UK leasing firm Select Car Leasing shows 41 per cent of motorists are very worried Brexit will ‘increase the cost to buy or lease a new car’.

The study comes as Parliament fails to agree on eight indicative votes on the next steps for Brexit and the country prepares for further turmoil, with the planned resignation of Theresa May after the conclusion of the exit process.

The independent study revealed almost a fifth - 19 per cent - have delayed buying or leasing a car until after Brexit, as they’re concerned about what may happen to the UK economy, which could be contributing to the recent slowdown of car sales. Meanwhile others - 17 per cent - were scrambling to lock in a new car deal before Brexit comes into effect, just in case the move makes buying or leasing a car more expensive.

Select Car Leasing company director Mark Tongue says the stats illustrate just how ‘unhelpful’ Brexit has been for everyone involved in the car industry.

He says: “There’s no doubt that Brexit has had an impact on manufacturers. You need only look at this week’s announcement by Nissan that their Infiniti models will no longer be produced in Britain, with production moved to China and the USA. Honda UK has announced plans to close its Swindon plant by 2021 while Jaguar Land Rover and Ford have also outlined plans to either reduce production or cut UK jobs. Our survey lays bare the fear and uncertainty among consumers, not just manufacturers.

“The sooner the Brexit picture becomes clearer, the sooner the industry can return to an even keel. Because as our research shows, the ongoing Brexit saga is deeply unhelpful for all concerned.”

The Select Car Leasing data was uncovered through a survey by OnePoll among 1,200 adults who drive and own a car, but excluding people in the motoring industry. Not everyone was convinced Brexit will hit motorists in the pocket, with 6 per cent believing Brexit would have no effect whatsoever on the cost of buying or leasing a new car.

But according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), they'd be wrong not to worry.

The SMMT, whose role it is to promote and support the UK automotive industry, expect new car prices to increase by an average of £1,500 per car? post Brexit.

As one potential outcome of the Brexit negotiations, there is a possibility that a duty of up to 10 per cent may be applied to cars imported into the UK after March 29.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the trade association, explained “There is no escaping the fact that being out of the customs union and single market will inevitably add barriers to trade, increase red tape and cost.

“Reverting to World Trade Organisation tariffs will mean a 10 per cent penalty on the cost of new cars imported to the UK. Import tariffs alone could push up the list price of cars imported to the UK from the continent by an average of £1500 if brands and their retail networks are unable to absorb these additional costs. That is a very steep additional cost for any car buyer.”

Meanwhile manufacturing giants Volkswagen have also warned customers and forecourts to expect price hikes on any cars imported to the UK - thanks to the impending 10 per cent import duty in the wake of a no-deal Brexit.

A VW spokesperson said: “Should a no-deal Brexit occur, goods imported from the EU may be subject to import duty. In this case, the price of vehicles and parts imported into the UK may increase. We strive to keep all customers as informed as possible during the buying process. This includes being clear on any potential changes outside of our control that may affect the price of the car they’re interested in purchasing.

“Customers will be given the opportunity, free of charge, to cancel their order should prices increase as a result of import duty changes.”

Select Car Leasing’s Mark Tongue urged consumers thinking of leasing a car to lock in a deal ahead of any planned price surges.

He said: “We’ve hit the proposed Brexit date of March 29th and yet there’s still a vast amount of head scratching and shrugging of the shoulders about what’s actually going to happen.

“We’d suggest its wise that those looking to lease, or buy, a new car do so in the next few weeks - as the landscape could look very different in April.”

For more information or to view the latest deals: www.selectcarleasing.co.uk.

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