As we approach the end of the year, and office staff excitedly start discussing Christmas Parties, and the John Lewis advert has started showing on television, we poignantly start to consider what happened during 2018, and more worryingly…where do the year go?
From an automotive perspective, the biggest noticable discussion point is possibly around that of new car sales. With the exception of an excellent August, new car sales were generally pretty poor during the year, and most down, like for like, on 2017. The exception to this, of course, was the sale of electric and hybrid vehicles which have continued to see sales growth, month on month.
The fall in new cars sales could be down to 2 main factors. A recent tightening of emissions rules, and the dreaded B word. It remains to see what will happen at the time of writing, politically, for Brexit, but one thing is for sure, and that is that many people are worried. Very worried about 2019, and the implications that a hard, soft, or no Brexit deal main bring.
It’s also plausible of course to consider that the fall in new car sales is perhaps because the quality of cars have improved to such a point now, that owners are needing, or wanting to change cars less often.
It wasn’t just car sales that were talked about this year though of course. The MOT was again changed in May whereby ‘defect types’ were introduced, so the seriousness of a defect could be categorised. This change seems to have been made with relatively little uproar, possibly because it was seen as a sensible move by the Department of Transport. But, undeniably the most positively received change to MOT’s this year was the scrapping of MOT’s on cars over 40 years old. Considering 40 years takes us back, currently, to the late 1970’s, that means vehicles like older Porsche 924’s, some VW Golfs, Mk3 Cortina’s and many Austin Allegro’s suddenly now don’t need an annual ticket. A relief, for sure, to many classic or retro car owners!
Finally, as the year nears an end, we also look at what 2019 has in store. The elephant in the room must surely be Brexit, because at the time of writing, little is known for sure how, or if, a pan-Euro customs agreement will take place. If we suffer a hard Brexit there’s a statistical chance that cars imported from overseas could suddenly be taxed at a much higher rate. Of course, a customs agreement or no-Brexit deal, could see prices stay more or less at the same level as now. Fuel too could be affected. But, electric vehicles could still feasibly be expected to show sales growth regardless.