What’s behind Britain’s car sales ‘correction’ – and will it turn into a crash? – Telegraph.co.uk
The first hard evidence of how bad things have become came when Pendragon, one of the UK’s biggest car dealers with about 220 outlets, issued a profit warning and chief executive Trevor Finn declared that Britain had reached “peak car”. Finn says: “It’s not one single reason you can point to for this, it’s a confluence of things – Brexit, higher vehicle duty, confusion about diesel, maybe even good barbecue weather.” Pendragon also put some of the blame on manufacturers. According to Finn, some premium car brands have continued forcing supply into the market, further driving down margins.
Finn’s experiences were echoed by peer Inchcape a few days later. Stefan Bombard, chief executive of the international dealer group, stressed that the UK was responsible for only about 15pc of the company’s profits meaning strength in global markets insulated it. Still, he confirmed Inchcape was seeing the same sort of pressure on margins in Britain. However, an executive at another dealer group says the picture is different, describing the market as “not the disaster some are making it out to be”.