Great Britain, buoyed by the rising economy, consumer confidence and advantageous financing schemes, has seen the return of car sales to the levels reported before the 2008-2009 economic crisis.
The incredibly fast recovery of the British car market – with signals that new car sales for the year could reach 2.45 million cars – is due to the purchases mostly made on credit. Around four of every five acquisitions are made using a scheme called a personal contract plan – they “rent” the car typically for three years, then trade it in and get a new vehicle.
“We’ll now be expected to nudge over 60 (million pounds) for the year which is OK with us,” says car dealership Lookers CEO Andy Bruce. “It’s being driven by these finance packages which are just unprecedented in terms of value for money and…that’s what driving the market,” he adds.
The company, among the biggest car retailers in the UK, sells almost 120,000 new and used cars annually, reporting adjusted pretax profit of 40.2 million pounds in the first six months of the year, a 36% rise over the same period last year. The situation is mirrored at many of its competitors, with many also posting lofty profits and one, Pendragon, even jumping almost 100% over the same six-month period.