UK buyers shun new cars as cost-of-living crisis bites

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Survey finds 37% of drivers delayed their purchase, while 20% chose to buy a used car instead

The UK cost-of-living crisis is significantly influencing car buying habits, with buyers pushing back vehicle purchases, revising budgets and considering different brands and models when searching for a car. 

A study, conducted by Autocar sibling title What Car?, took the responses from 1232 people around the UK and found 35.05% of buyers were reducing the amount of money they were going to spend on their next car.

Of that figure, 22.99% said they would cut their budget by 20% or higher. Some 25.37% estimated a cut of 10-15% and 23.58% of buyers said they would spend 5-10% less. 

The What Car? study also showed that of the 1232 buyers, 36.61% had chosen to delay their purchases because of the cost-of-living crisis. Of those, 48.45% had pushed back their purchase by more than three months, and 24.11% chose to delay until 2023. 

Some 39.68% of buyers decided to change the make or model of the car they were considering due to the cost-of-living crisis. Of that figure, 71.74% considered a completely different manufacturer and 12.8% said they were looking at a different model from the same car brand. 

Just 38.46% of buyers said they were looking to buy a new car, with 34.01% seeking a used model. The remaining 27.53% suggested they were still undecided about whether to buy new or used. 

Of the 34.01% looking to buy a used car, 20.62% said they were originally going to buy a new model but attributed their change in decision to the cost-of-living crisis.

The What Car? survey also queried 401 people who had recently purchased a vehicle. Around a fifth (20.45%) said the cost-of-living crisis affected their buying decision, while 61.25% said they had chosen to buy a different model from the one they originally wanted. 

Over half of owners (59.09%) said they bought new, while the remaining 40.91% chose to buy used. Around 13.64% of used buyers said they initially wanted to buy a new car, but chose a used model to cut costs. 

Source: Autocar

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