Brits Have Suddenly Stopped Buying Cars

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.


kellys_eye Grumbleduke Tue, 09/12/2017 - 03:46 Permalink

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......  

In reply to by Grumbleduke

BigJim KrugerrandFan Tue, 09/12/2017 - 06:03 Permalink

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.

In reply to by KrugerrandFan

AGuy BigJim Tue, 09/12/2017 - 06:09 Permalink

"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.

In reply to by BigJim

ReturnOfDaMac AGuy Tue, 09/12/2017 - 10:06 Permalink

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!

In reply to by AGuy

AGuy ReturnOfDaMac Tue, 09/12/2017 - 10:28 Permalink

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

In reply to by ReturnOfDaMac

ReturnOfDaMac AGuy Tue, 09/12/2017 - 10:37 Permalink

"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.

In reply to by AGuy

AGuy ReturnOfDaMac Tue, 09/12/2017 - 12:16 Permalink

"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.

In reply to by ReturnOfDaMac

Withdrawn Sanction BigJim Tue, 09/12/2017 - 06:39 Permalink

"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.

In reply to by BigJim

Teja Withdrawn Sanction Tue, 09/12/2017 - 07:41 Permalink

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.

In reply to by Withdrawn Sanction

Blue Steel 309 sheikurbootie Tue, 09/12/2017 - 03:34 Permalink

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.

In reply to by sheikurbootie

giovanni_f Free Man Tue, 09/12/2017 - 04:08 Permalink

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.

In reply to by Free Man

giovanni_f MK13 Tue, 09/12/2017 - 04:43 Permalink

"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.

In reply to by MK13

HowdyDoody giovanni_f Tue, 09/12/2017 - 11:31 Permalink

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. 

In reply to by giovanni_f

bjax Tue, 09/12/2017 - 03:00 Permalink

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.

AGuy FredGSanford. Tue, 09/12/2017 - 06:16 Permalink

"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.

In reply to by FredGSanford.