Despite further pressure on their personal finances, demand for new cars is rising among Britons, new figures reveal.
According to the Deals on Wheels report by the AA, interest in new registration vehicles has risen by 22 per cent during the past year in spite of five base rate rises by the Bank of England since August 2006. A third (33 per cent) of drivers are looking to buy a new automobile over the next 12 months, in comparison to the 26 per cent recorded in the same time last year.
The financial services provider also pointed to statistics showing that the real cost of cars had decreased by 26 per cent over the last ten years, figures which were suggested to be “impacting people’s decisions to make an investment in new wheels”.
In comparison, the second-hand car market was shown to have fallen over recent months. Currently, just over a third (36 per cent) of respondents are planning to get a car which is less than three years old – a fall of 16 percentage points from the 44 per cent recorded in a study taken at the start of 2007.
Reliability and mechanical problems are the main factor pushing demand for new cars, accounting for 32 per cent of people surveyed. Concerns over running costs of vehicles make up 28 per cent of consumers’ reasons to get a brand new automobile, compared to environmental worries which stand at 18 per cent.
Commenting on the figures, Lloyd East, head of AA Personal Loans, said: “As interest rates rise, UK consumers are beginning to tighten their purse strings. But our research shows strong consumer demand for new registration cars ahead of September 1st. This suggests that reasons for buying a car are not only influenced by price at purchase.”
And with about a third of those planning on getting a car set to take out personal loans or showroom finance deal to fund their purchase, Mr East suggested that more people are becoming increasingly concerned about the running costs and the practicality of their cars. “With interest rates rising, the cost of buying a car on finance is increasing and it is therefore essential that people intending to buy a new or used car shop around for the best deal before heading for the forecourt,” he added.
Those in Scotland were revealed to be “keeping their foot on the accelerator” when it comes to buying a car as 41 per cent of consumers in the region are aiming on getting a new vehicle over the coming year. This compares to some 26 per cent of residents in the south of England.
Overall, older Britons are driving the new car market as 52 per cent of those over the age of 55 are set to make such a purchase. Meanwhile, a fifth of 25 to 34-year-olds are looking to do so, as younger people are reported to be much more likely to buy a used automobile.
Earlier this month, Tim Moss, head of loans for moneysupermarket, claimed that those considering buying a new 57 registration car in September could be “taken for a ride” if they choose an uncompetitive finance product. The price comparison website suggested that consumers opting for a showroom deal instead of a cheap personal loan could collectively be paying £140 million in extra interest payments.