Looking forward to 2040?

The Government announcement of a ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040 came out of nowhere – and seemed to take most people by surprise.

Cynics might dismiss it as a headline-grabbing measure designed to deflect attention away from the weak and woolly clean air strategy that was announced the same day. And it’s easy to think that 23 years is a long way away. Many of us will not be running businesses by then, and may not even be driving.

But, it’s only half a generation in succession terms and both the French and German (regional) governments are planning similar measures. So perhaps it is time to give some thought to what a franchised auto retail store will look like in 2040.

There will still be used cars to sell and aftersales, of course. Even now, there are 37 million vehicles registered in the UK and, depending on whose figures you use, around 31.7 million of those are cars and vans – plenty of market to go for, then. Unless there’s a massive (expensive) scrappage scheme, those cars are going to be around for a long time to come.

So the interesting issue is: what will new car sales look like. Model range variants are likely to be reduced but the launch of models such as the Jaguar E-pace and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV show that electric-hybrids are not solely the preserve of city cars. After all, Lexus has been selling hybrid-only in the UK for years.

On that basis alone, there’s not much reason for the new car sales industry to panic. We might need to install a few more charging points – but customers will still need to buy/lease their cars from somewhere.

 

Rupert Saunders

Managing Director

Auto Retail Network

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