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Brexit hits used car sales as buyers choose to wait and see

Used carCar buyers worried about the possible knock-on effects of a Brexit decision in the EU referendum are putting off buying more expensive vehicles until the results of the vote are known, reports Glass’s.

Growing numbers of anecdotal reports from its dealer sources suggest that a recent slowdown in the used car market is not entirely down to oversupply and that Brexit fears are exacerbating buyer hesitancy.

“These buyers are more affluent individuals who are concerned about the potential financial uncertainty that could follow a Brexit vote and don’t want to commit to higher value purchases until they know whether we leave or stay,” said Glass’s director of valuations Rupert Pontin.

It’s not a uniform effect, he said, and some car dealers are still doing OK, “but we also know of others are are being affected quite badly”.

Pontin added that the market would likely recover quickly with a remain vote – but warned that a vote to leave would result in widespread uncertainty.

“In terms of the referendum, most dealers are adopting a ‘better the devil you know’ attitude. What they fear about leaving the EU is that they simply don’t know what the effects will be on the overall economy and therefore the used car market.”

MINI Plant Oxford

Brexit: BMW warns UK staff on risks of EU exit

MINI Plant OxfordBMW has written to its UK staff warning to warn them a vote for Britain to leave the EU would increase the firm’s costs and could impact the company’s UK employment base.

The letter has been sent to all BMW Group workers, including MINI and Rolls-Royce employees, because the company says it wants to inform staff of the risks.

Brexit news on Motoring Research

BMW Group has denied it’s trying to influence the Brexit vote: staff have asked for the company to clarify BMW’s position, a spokesman told The Guardian, which is why it’s set out its thoughts in detail.

BMW builds more than 300,000 MINIs in the UK each year, and more than half of them are exported to Europe. Virtually all the engines it builds here are exported to Europe too: the company in recent years has invested heavily in its UK operations.

“Free trade is important for international business,” said Torsten Muller-Otvos, Rolls-Royce CEO. “Tariff barriers would mean higher costs and higher prices, and we can not assume that the UK would be granted free trade with Europe from outside the EU.”

The letters added that Britain would still be bound by EU regulations whatever the result of the Brexit vote.

“We believe it’s much better to be sat at the table when regulations are set and have a hand in their creation, rather than simply having to accept them.”

Vauxhall boss slams Brexit bid: we need to stay in the EU

Vauxhall boss slams Brexit bid: we need to stay in the EU

Vauxhall boss slams Brexit bid: we need to stay in the EU

Vauxhall’s new managing director Rory Harvey has joined the debate on the EU referendum, telling journalists that the firm ‘absolutely’ has a position on Brexit – and that position is that the UK should remain in the European Union.

Speaking on the eve of the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, Harvey said: “We think it’s the right thing to do in terms of movement of goods and supply of services and people, and we think it’s the right thing in terms of the automotive industry and us as an organisation.

“We have a position and that position is that we think that now, at the moment, we should stay in the EU.”

Brexit: Nissan, Toyota want Britain to remain in EU

Harvey’s predecessor, Tim Tozer, left the company suddenly in September following what’s believed to have been a spat between Vauxhall and GM’s European arm, Opel.

In the weeks prior to his departure, Tozer suggested that Britain leaving the EU would not stop Vauxhall from doing business in the UK.

He told the BBC’s Radio 4 today programme: “I don’t think in that event [of Britain leaving the EU] there would not be a trade agreement with what was left of the EU. We’re a very, very big market for European products, goods and services, and it would be unthinkable to us as a corporation that no such trade agreement would ultimately be negotiated if this country chose to leave.”

His successor is more reserved, however. Harvey said it would be “interesting to see what happens with the referendum,” yet refused to speculate about whether the company would continue to build cars within the UK if it were to leave the EU.

Vauxhall is GM’s fourth biggest market around the world, with 35,000 people employed by the firm in the UK. The brand’s Ellesmere Port plant in the North West produces more than 180,000 Astras a year – 52,000 of which are sold in the UK.

This figure is set to increase with the new model, which tonight picked up the award of the 2016 European Car of the Year.

Recently, Toyota hinted that it would continue production at its Burnaston plant – whichever way the EU referendum goes.

Telling the Financial Times how Toyota had buried a time capsule under the Derbyshire factory, the multinational company’s chief executive Akio Toyoda said: “From now on, like Japan, we may face some pretty tough times in the UK market.

“But we want to deepen our roots to deliver ever better cars, so when that capsule is opened after 100 years, all can see we’ve built a truly British company.”

Nissan Union Flag

Brexit: Nissan, Toyota want Britain to remain in EU

Nissan Union FlagNissan and Toyota have both expressed their preference for Britain remaining in the UK – although neither plans to pro-actively support any political campaign ahead of the EU referendum on 23 June.

They are the first major overseas car manufacturers based in the UK to formally comment on Brexit since the date of the referendum was announced.

“This is ultimately a matter for the British people to decide,” said Nissan chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn in a statement.

“We respect that the UK’s future relationship with the European Union is a matter for the British people to decide, and it is not our intention to participate in the campaign,” said Toyota Motor Europe president and CEO John van Zyl.

But both firms are quite clear in the facts they present – and both agree that it makes the most sense for jobs, trade and costs for the UK to remain within Europe.

“For us, a position of stability is more positive than a collection of unknowns,” said Ghosn; “We are concerned that leaving would create additional business challenges,” added van Zyl.

And while current UK-based operations for Nissan and Toyota are not under threat, future investments in the UK could be at risk should Britons vote for Brexit. “While we remain committed to our existing investment decision,” said Ghosn, “we will not speculate on the outcome nor what would happen in either scenario.

“We obviously want the Nissan UK plant and engineering centre to remain as competitive as possible when compared with other global entities,” he added. “Each future investment opportunity will be taken on a case by case basis, just as it is now.

Nissan directly employs 8,000 people at its sites in London, Cranfield and Sunderland, plus a further 32,000 people indirectly. Toyota’s manufacturing site at Burnaston employs 3,800.

Toyota admits key reasons for choosing Britain over the rest of Europe when it chose Derby the plant in 1992 was “the open and free access to the European market, (and) the free access of a skilled workforce”. Today, Burnaston is wholly integrated into Toyota’s European operations.

8 in 10 Nissans are exported and 9 in 10 Toyota are exported out of the UK – with Europe being the biggest market for both brand’s vehicles.