Dealers upbeat on 2017

Close Brothers Motor Finance’s Dealer Satisfaction Survey has revealed the majority of UK car dealerships are positive about their business prospects for 2017.

Despite many industry figures predicting the sector will contract in 2017, 65% of the dealers surveyed remain resolutely positive about the prospects for their own businesses in the year ahead.

When asked why they were optimistic about their growth prospects, over half pointed to the proliferation of new finance products (58%) as the main factor. Over two in five (42%) of dealers also pointed to changing consumer behaviour as a reason for their optimism. Just under half cited the rising affordability of motor vehicles (46%), which only 25% of dealers cited in November 2016.

The survey also asked dealers to assess how their business has performed over the last six months (July-December), with 45% stating their dealership is performing better than it was in July. The previous Dealer Satisfaction Survey showed that only 33% of dealerships thought their business was performing better than it was in the previous six months, showing a marked increase in business over the start of 2016 summer period.

Despite the positive sentiment, dealerships still recognise the wider economic risks that could stifle their growth for the rest of the year with 58% of dealerships citing a potential recession as the biggest threat to their business. In addition, 41% of dealers said that Brexit was also one of the main threats to business growth.