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It is very difficult to forecast the consequences of the referendum result in a long term perspective as the implications will be dependent on how the UK renegotiates its relationship with the EU. However, we would not be surprised to see uncertainty in the market in the short term.
The value of the pound, which as expected has fallen after last week’s result, will play a crucial role. A weak sterling will push up the cost of imports making consumer goods and raw materials more expensive. However, it will help UK exports as they will be cheaper to buy and help manufactures offset their increased cost base. In, at least, the short term consumers may wait for more certainty before committing to big purchases.
Beyond the upheaval in the currency and stock markets the UK’s position in Europe has not changed. There has been no legal change and our trade agreements remain intact. We still await the outcome of our negotiations with the EU. Therefore, any conclusion would be formed on the basis of incomplete information. It is not our intentions to make conjectures about such a big matter.
Following the referendum result, the feedback that we received from our members is that ‘this is not the outcome that the majority of dealers had hoped for’. However, our sector is resilient and used to coping with unexpected and sometimes complex situations.
The UK is the second largest car market in Europe, and the contribution that the automotive sector makes to the national and European economy explains why it is as important to importers as it is to the UK market that a deal is put in place very quickly.
That is why, we urge the UK government to swiftly negotiate a trade deal across Europe and the rest of the world and to secure stability, such that there is a level playing field for our members to operate in.
We are aware of the challenges ahead and that this situation will take years to clarify, but we will continue to work closely with our members and their manufacturer partners to help determine the correct next steps.
We are looking forward to a stabilised environment within the motor retail sector allowing our members to return to their regular business on the back of last year’s success.