The latest new car forecast by Cox Automotive points to a slowly improving sector for the rest of 2023, supported by recovering vehicle production that will more adequately meet customer demand and prevent significant imbalances.

Published in the automotive services provider’s latest AutoFocus insight update, its forecasts consider a baseline, upside and downside scenario for the new market.

The Cox Automotive baseline forecast for total new car registrations in 2023 is 1,921,436, representing a significant increase of nearly 20% compared to 2022 figures but still lower (-16.9%) than pre-pandemic yearly registrations. The H1 (Q1 & Q2) forecast of 1,790,034 achieved a remarkable 97.8% accuracy against an actual figure of 970,951, bolstering confidence in the full-year forecast based on various market scenarios.

New Car Forecast - Quarter Focus

Taking recent indicators into account, Cox Automotive believes that the baseline continues to be the most likely scenario to materialise in Q3 and Q4. That scenario – which forecasts the sale of 558,803 vehicles in Q3 and 412,913 in Q4 - includes a belief that the UK’s projected economic recovery will remain on track and that the entry of new OEMs into the UK market will have a limited impact on pricing and volumes for long-standing OEMs. That will result in a slower-than-desired adoption rate by consumers and businesses alike.

Philip Nothard, Insight and Strategy Director at Cox Automotive said: “The new car market is going through arguably its most significant change in decades, an evolution driven by electrification, new players entering the arena and changes to how new cars are sold.

“This sector has faced numerous challenges over the past three years and the shoots of recovery that it showed at the beginning of the year will, we think, characterise what remains of these 12 months.”

New Car Annual Forecast 2023

He added that the evident transformation of the sector involves a re-evaluation of how to proceed in both the physical and digital realms and how to best implement an omnichannel approach.

In the franchised dealer sector, Philip sees much evidence for accelerated consolidation, especially in a market that needs to attract investors and adapt to changing OEM attitudes that place profitability above sheer volume.

“The industry is aiming to reconcile agency strategies, historic franchise agreements and a hybrid approach that blends the two in an increasingly divided and diverse world,” he said. “These complexities unfold amid what can only be described as a critical juncture in the journey toward an electrified, net-zero future.  

“As consumer behaviour shifts, the industry must adapt and align its strategies to meet the demands of an evolving market. With electrification serving as a driving force, the challenges and opportunities in this transition period will shape the future landscape of the automotive industry.

“Success will hinge on the ability of stakeholders to nimbly traverse these complexities. They must forge new partnerships and embrace sustainable practices that will hopefully lead them into a thriving net-zero era.”

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