Changing car buying trends

Hey kids! Four (or occasionally more) wheeled enthusiast James here again! On this delightfully frosty Spring day, I’ll be blasting words into your head on the topic of changing buying trends amongst Britain’s car buyers. So, without further ado, let’s get this fun-filled, yet deeply informative, show on the road!

It’s not about how big it is, it’s what you do with it that counts

Like a gentleman’s most prized possession when submerged in cold water, cars have experienced a great deal of shrinkage over the past decade. Back in the mid-noughties, it was Fiat who really changed the game with smaller cars with the shiny new Panda (mk2). To borrow a cliché, it was a proper little Tardis, with freakishly small outer dimensions, yet with four fully functional doors, and back seats which could actually be occupied by fully grown people without violating Article 3 of the Human Rights Act (No torture, inhuman, or degrading treatment). It didn’t take long for other manufacturers to join the party, and from 2004 to 2014 there was an astonishing 132.89% increase in registrations of ‘mini’ cars. The current market leader in this segment is the delightful Hyundai i10. With our ever-more-crowded roads, and manufacturers continuing to cram even more interior space and ‘big car’ features in these babies, this buying trend certainly looks set to continue.

Bending the rules of the game will let you find the one you’re looking for, and then you can show that you think you know you’re making your mind up!

I am, of course, referring to the growing popularity of Dual Purpose (a.k.a. SUV) and Multi-Purpose (a.k.a. MPV, i.e. lots of seats) cars, which respectively saw an increase in registrations of 62.92% and 31.77% from 2004 to 2014. The current Dual Purpose market leaders are the Ford Kuga (whose name definitely has no comedic value), and the Kia Sportage. Bringing home the MPV bacon are the Citroen C4 Picasso, and the Ford C-Max. Nice to see manufacturers focusing on these, particularly if you’re into prolific breeding, or have fantasies of one day tackling a surface even more challenging than pot-holed tarmac.

Diesel power

To atone for my musical crimes in quoting Bucks Fizz lyrics, you’ll find this subheading is drawn from a lesser known album track from The Prodigy. Edgy, huh? Also, probably less controversial, though also less topical, than my original title “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies!”. Industry-shaking scandals aside, diesels have jumped from 33% of new cars registrations in 2004, to 50% a decade later. The big draw for many is, of course, increased fuel economy, though substantially increased torque at lower revs is a nice benefit – while it’s undeniably fun to red-line a petrol car (particularly if it’s hired), it’s nice with a diesel to know that you don’t actually need to do this to access the bulk of the engine’s grunt. Technical developments have also smoothed out some of the traditional rougher edges of diesels, bringing in a new audience. Turbo lag has been reduced, so you no longer have time to make a cup of tea between pushing the accelerator and waiting for movement to commence, and the engine noise has been toned down so that they no longer sound like an asthmatic camel vomiting up a bag of hexagonal bolts (winner of metaphor of the week: me!). And let’s not forget their empirically-proven low emissi… nope, I’m not going there.

She’s electric (or plug-in hybrid)!

Alternative fuel vehicles currently make up only around 2% of new vehicle registrations, though this proportion is rapidly growing – in 2014 alone, ‘pure’ electric car registrations increased by 167%, whilst registrations across all plug-in cars (incorporating hybrids) quadrupled to nearly 15,000. Even though Tesla seems to grab the most column inches, the actual market leader amongst electric cars by some margin (more than triple the registrations of its nearest competitor) is the Nissan Leaf. This is firmly in ‘affordable family car’ territory, costing less than £18k, whilst also being incredibly cheap to run. With more cars like this, it shouldn’t be too many more years before the UK has a decent fast-charging infrastructure, so that electric cars can be a truly mainstream option.

A Perrys dealer is just a friend you haven’t met

You’ll be able to find, ogle, and test-drive the models mentioned above at your local Perrys dealership, so head over there for all your small, big, SUV, petrol, diesel, and electric automotive needs!