In 2012, the UK car dealer market — defined as the sale of passenger cars and light motor vehicles — was estimated to have grown by 1.3%. This growth is attributable to the new car segment of the market, following a major recovery in the number of new vehicle registration in 2012, despite the continued economic uncertainty.
The car dealer market is highly competitive, with numerous enterprises engaged in it, ranging from major international and domestic multi-franchise vehicle distributors to regional single-franchised operations, alongside a huge number of small independent used car dealerships.
Despite growth in the value of the passenger car and light commercial vehicle sales in 2012, the car dealer segment has yet to recover from the impact of the economic downturn. In both the new and used sectors, volume sales remain significantly lower than pre-crash peaks in 2007 and 2006, respectively. However, with consumer demand on the rise, and increasingly innovative and fuel-efficient vehicles on offer, the new car sector is driving recovery, experiencing its highest year-on-year growth rate in over a decade in 2012.
The dominant issue currently impacting the market is the decarbonisation of UK roads, with European and national regulations, Government-led funding schemes and industry investment all focused on the development and commercialisation of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) and the supportive infrastructure. With demanding carbon emission targets for 2015 and 2020 — for both...