Brits Have Suddenly Stopped Buying Cars

Tyler Durden's picture

British people have suddenly stopped buying cars and as BI's Jim Edwards notes, it's not clear why.

As the following chart from Barclays shows, both new- and used-car sales have collapsed...


While the slump in consumer confidence remains a major factor...

But as Edwards notes, a number of other factors are colliding simultaneously to hurt UK car sales:

UK car sales are especially vulnerable to fluctuations in demand because Britain's excess right-hand drive cars cannot be shipped to other areas of Europe, which use left-hand drive models.

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Grumbleduke's picture

everybody and his dog has a car. What to buy a new one for? Market saturation doesn't seem to be on the radar in that article.

Rubicon's picture

So does this mean German car manufacturers will have a quiet word in the shell of EU Brexit negotiators? 

kellys_eye's picture

Given the parlous state of the British retail car industry and their closeness to the ear of Government one wonders why they allowed the Government to spread the scare story of banning petrol/diesel vehicles by 2040???  Now Scotland have gone the oneupmanship route and said they'll do it by 2032.  Well we all know that Scottish tart Sturgeon is a dumb tw@t and expect this sort of horse sh1t from her but how the car companies 'allowed' the Government to kybosh their sales from now til then is a mystery......



new game's picture


Theosebes Goodfellow's picture

This is a Top Gear thing, right?

If the BBC would only bring back Clarkson, Mays and Hammond the British public would once again know which vehicles were keepers and which would "doom your life like a sodded pumpkin".

sodbuster's picture

Anything to declare?????   Yeah- Don't go to England!!!!

Thoresen's picture

Yes, and as we'll need twice as many power stations (running on what?) to power those electric cars, the politicians clearly don't know what they are doing. (Well, yes they do.... a few nice sounding sound bites to get them elected again!)

Conscious Reviver's picture

Kelly - It's all about burning down the casino. It's an end game scenario. Watch some gangster movies. After they bust out a place they torch it. There's a scene in Good Fellas.

At some point the business owners stop making decisions regarding the future existance of their business.

U4 eee aaa's picture

The margin on electric is higher

KrugerrandFan's picture
  • The roads little island of ours are reaching saturation with traffic. I used drive 80miles to see friends most weekends. Then I could only stick it once a month. Now I am lucky if I get there every 3 months. The Friday night drive can take me over 2 hours. No fun anymore.
BigJim's picture

Indeed. "No one knows why" my ass! Driving in the UK is fucking horrible. Local authorities have deliberately reduced parking spaces while increasing the number of parking wardens. Speed cameras have proliferated, and they're increasingly "average speed" setups so you can't even drive at a sensible speed and then just slow down for GATSOs; no, you have to toddle along at less than 40mph on many dual carriageways, regardless of how little traffic there is, just because some bureaucrat somewhere decided that was the "safest" maximum speed in average conditions.

There're bus lanes everywhere, complicated one way routes, a rash of road signs, cameras to record any minor infraction, and petrol is around $7 a gallon.

The UK government have been trying to get people onto public transport for decades now and it's working: driving has become an exercise in misery and frustration.

Been in a DHS queue at a US airport? Well, imagine being stuck in one that stretches across an entire country.

AGuy's picture

"Driving in the UK is fucking horrible. Local authorities have deliberately reduced parking spaces while increasing the number of parking wardens. Speed cameras have proliferated, and they're increasingly "average speed" setups so you can't even drive at a sensible speed and then just slow down for GATSOs;"

To paraphrase Poly-anna (1960's movie): I am glad that I don't live in the UK!
BTW: Libertarian minded Brits are welcome here in the USA if you ever choose to immigrate here. Just don't pick a Blue state to move to for obvious reasons.

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

Yea, pick a red-state.  You know that health insurance you USED to get in the UK? Forget it. Nobody will to take a loss insuring those lazy fat-asses.  Wages?  Ummm how bout $15/hr for a guy with a grad degree.  Don't forget to stock up on booze before Sunday.   Oh, and you had BETTER openly proclaim you love for Jeebuz!

AGuy's picture

You know that health insurance you USED to get in the UK?
UK has single payer!

"Ummm how bout $15/hr for a guy with a grad degree."
What was the grad degree in? Women studies? Phycology? Liberal Arts?

FWIW: I have a 4 yr Degree and earn way more than $15/hr.

UK Job market sucks just as bad, except the taxes are nearly double for the Middle class compared to the US. Anyone that I know that is a Brit that moved here said they are far better off in the US than in the UK

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

"UK Job market sucks just as bad" --- so why move to a bitterly divided country like the US. 

BTW- been to UK/Britain more times than I can count.  To hell with what you see on faux, to the person, I have NEVER met a single one who wanted our fucked up health care system.  If by chance you get some exotic type of cancer, sure we have the best tech.  But for everything else we suck.

They may offer it, but I don't think they do women's studies in the UK.  Most of them are truly educated, not indoctrinated in assorted flavors of sky gawds.  Don't think to they liberty university there. I see you neglected to mention Jeebuz, hmmmm.

AGuy's picture

"NEVER met a single one who wanted our fucked up health care system."

Thats because you never had to deal with a healthcare system outside of the US. Brits & Canadians come to the USA for treatment, do to the extended queuing for Single Payer systems.

If you think the USA healthcare sucks now (yes it does) just wait until its Single payer, and you have go to Mexico, China, or India to get treatment.

Thoresen's picture

True around London; much of the rest of the country is tolerable (but won't be in 5 years).

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

"No one knows why"

And then the articles proceeds laundry list style to rattle off half a dozen possible reasons. What utter rubbish. I guarantee someone knows...the UK car consumer, for one.

Yet again we witness the folly of trying to ascribe to one reason the motivations of hundreds of thousands of individuals. Typical of the collectivist mindset.

Grumbleduke's picture

Yet again we witness the folly of trying to ascribe to one reason the motivations of hundreds of thousands of individuals. Typical of the collectivist mindset.


Would give you 1000 upvotes, if I could.

Teja's picture

Absolutely. And looking at the numbers, it is just a small downtick, compared with longer term variations. Bullshit.

Actually, if they had really stopped buying cars, I would understand that, having travelled by car in south England last year. Awful. Some of the most scenic small villages are just a long stop and go traffic jam these days. Parking is hell. Never will go there by car again. England has been destroyed by cars more thoroughly (and more profitable, for the German industry) than by V1 and V2 during the war.

SubjectivObject's picture

a simple consequence space limitations and traditional property ownership

would be interesting to get a Brit's first impression of driving in Houston

sheikurbootie's picture

No money is always the easiest reason.

The economy still sucks.

Blue Steel 309's picture

It's not like they have any cause to engage in hate speech by saying that they should have no agency or opportunity in their ancestral lands. The lands that are of their culture and representative of whats left. The lands that are in their DNA... Why shouldn't they welcome invaders to take positions of power and authority over them, while telling them THEY are the guilty.

My ancestors were English and Scots-Irish (the ones there before he revolution), So maybe we Americans self selected for cucking to our own destruction, but I don't think so. Nobody is waking up yet.

Culture and race are the two opposite sides of the coin that can make a NATION. The USA is not a nation.

Free Man's picture

Guess what, the EU Left has sucked the UK dry.

giovanni_f's picture

well, no. UK largely deindustrialized. Demise began 150 ys ago with the ascent of Germany (UK arranged two WWs to stop that; only partly successful).
After WWII, UK has been on life support, reserve currency status lost. With north sea oil drying up, a banking sector with constantly eroding revenues, there's not much left apart from peanuts from those Russian billionaire-criminals who spend their days in their London luxury refugee penthouse lofts.

It was a question of time. Travlling the UK has the distinct feel of a Poland trip during the late 70s. Funny, lovely people though.

MK13's picture

You forgot to mention Poland in 1970s under communism. Now Poland is a vibrant capitalist country that doesn't allow free loading immigrant slime to come in.

Mr 9x19's picture


net external position is in green again.

they have flee just in time i would say

giovanni_f's picture

"Now Poland is a vibrant capitalist country". Poland vibrates since it is developed by Germany and at the receiving end of the EU wealth transfer. No highway built there without EU subsidies. Stop the wealth transfer and stop German investments and it will look like the UK in no time. Subtract the maquiladora-effect bc of the low wages in Poland (blueberry farms and other labor-intense production) and you are soon approaching Ukrainian levels of income/capita, i.e. sub-Sahara level.

Poland is economically 90% dependent on Germany, like it or not.

HowdyDoody's picture

Even better, the government has mandated that they take unreliable US lng at a 50% (?) markup over reliable (now Ukraine is no longer transit route) Russian gas. Now wonder the government is screaming for 'reparations' from Germany. Otherwise they gas prices will be going up and up, the voters will take out the pitchforks and bye bye US stooge 'Polish' politicos.


lakecity55's picture

Hmmm, perhaps they need to build a navy and rule the High Seas.


giovanni_f's picture

good idea - they could then use their military might to found colonies, exploit them and when being kicked out draw arbitrary frontiers purposely designed to create war and destruction for centuries all over the planet. That might work...

Pendolino's picture

Hold on, that sounds like the US of today.

BeansMcGreens's picture

It might help also if they drove on the right side of the road. Having to move the steering wheel would mean new cars.

Thoresen's picture

The UK handed most of it's gold reserves to the US to pay for WW2 ships and arms. It should have paid with fiat paper.

Offthebeach's picture

Try WWI.

Keynes called his 1920-30's trips to Washington as "begging missions ".


bloostar's picture

I call BS.. I've never seen so many young folk cutting about in the latest high end German saloons.

GoyimUprising's picture

I heard it's because they've been cucked by Muslim invaders and are too afraid to leave their homes.

poldark's picture

British Consumer has reached peak debt.

Blue Steel 309's picture

Just peak cuck. You people are completely converged by the Frankfurt school. The USA is mostly there, but we have fee speech so the war is being fought, and the alt-right could win.

GoyimUprising's picture

Look at those pimp ass motherfuckers and that tricked out ride!

foxenburg's picture

From a long running Brit sitcom "Only fools and horses."



DEMIZEN's picture

one of the funniest shows ever made.

bjax's picture

All the people I know here, including myself, can't be bothered to buy a new car. What's the point? I have no debt, my cars runs fine, job done. People have lost the urge to keep spending, because there is no happiness in it. It's just a transitory thing that doesn't last. There are more important things in life than buying a car, end of story.

adamas's picture

+1000 I am a multi millionaire with four kids at private schools and a huge estate,  all I want is a cottage my lurcher and an open log fire .. everything else is superfluous 

Escapeclaws's picture

May I tell you how much I admire you. I would gladly kiss yor ass (because you are rich). I myself am a multithousandaire.

_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

The best reason: you're wasting so much money because of depreciation. Buying a new car is nuts.

giovanni_f's picture

but what are you going to do if the new facebook app is not compatibe to your old car? There you have it!


FredGSanford.'s picture

No more petroleum cars after 2040?

AGuy's picture

"No more petroleum cars after 2040?"

Or just too expensive by then. Middle East fields are largely depleted, and the USA Shale boom will be finished in another 5 to 7 years. Most of new Mega Oil projects needed to replace depleting fields in the West have been cancelled. Oil majors opted to drill Wall Street with Stock buybacks and buying out smaller Oil companies for reserve replacement.

UK is not going to be a fun place to live when energy costs skyrocket again. the 2005-2008 Energy scare was just a preview of whats to come. Its should serve as a wake-up call.