Market analyst IHS Global predicts a slump in car sales of around 10% following the recent vote to leave the European Union

Britain’s new car market is feared to be heading into a post-Brexit decline destined to knock sales back to 2.4 million a year in 2017 – a loss of around 250,000 new car sales.

The disappointing forecast has emerged as the car industry grapples with the fall-out of the Brexit vote, which has knocked sterling and business confidence and is negatively impacting investment.

"These are early days," said a spokesperson at market researcher IHS Global, "but we are in a negative shock situation and the initial assessment is a decline in the market."

New car sales were expected by IHS Global to hit 2.7m by the end of this year, a small increase on last year’s 2.6m.

However, the negative effect on the UK economy is now forecast to push that down by up to 55,000 units to 2.64m.

"Effectively, all the growth experienced in the first half of the year is likely to be wiped out," said IHS Global analyst Colin Couchman.

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VW Group UK boss Paul Willis told Autocar that forecasts he has been shown suggest an even lower figure. "The numbers I’ve seen suggest a market heading towards 2.55m this year," he told Autocar at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend.

The critical month will be September, which last year recorded sales of 465,000 and faces a loss in 2016 of perhaps 50,000 sales – a dramatic reversal.

But the real impact of Brexit will be felt in 2017, when importers will be able to adjust their forward buying orders, after taking a view this autumn on next year’s market prospects.

IHS Global currently predicts a further market drop to 2.4m units in 2017. Previously, it forecast 2.61m units.

Willis puts the range for 2017 between 2.3m and 2.4m – a slightly bigger drop, but on a similar scale. “It just depends on what percentage decline you think we might experience next year," he said.

A major factor in sales will be price increases stemming from a long-term currency adjustment that will make imported cars more expensive.

"Sterling has already weakened 6%. If that becomes the norm, you can imagine the effect on prices," Willis told Autocar.

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Comments
3

29 June 2016
4th article today, bit late to vote Remain now Autocar

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

29 June 2016
If they increase the prices , sure less people will purchase and if the EU do not play ball on some of the Uk wishes we should put duty on the cars to hinder their market penetration , imagine the German police using non German cars.We should stand our ground and not be -ucked about since we import much more than we export to the EU

29 June 2016
this, the stock market, the pound's value. considering that nothing has actually happened other than the referendum result, does nobody else feel like these things happen simply because someone somewhere can it make it so?

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Our Verdict

Ford Fiesta
Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta is the UK's best selling car, helped by frugal engines, handling verve and a big car feel

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week