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2032 too soon to ban petrol and diesel cars, say two-thirds of UK dealers

Two-thirds (66%) of car dealers believe MPs’ proposals to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2032 will be too early, new research finds.

87% of dealers said there weren’t enough AFVs to replace petrol and diesel cars by 2032

Carried out following calls from MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee last autumn for the Government’s current 2040 targets for zero-emission cars to be brought forward to 2032, Close Brothers Motor Finance’s latest Dealer Satisfaction Survey shows the vast majority (86%) of the 200-plus dealers surveyed believed the ban would cause another layer of confusion to the market; 59% believe it would make car buyers more reluctant to purchase a vehicle.

The research found dealers also believe the move would add to the existing WLTP confusion and that 59% again believe that the ban would have a negative impact on their business.

However, the survey did unearth some mixed views on alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs). A total of 39% of dealers said they currently had no plans to stock AFVs any time soon, instead solely relying on petrol and diesel cars. But roughly a third again (36%) said the ban would not make much of a difference as more consumers were turning to AFVs as it was. Alongside this, a quarter (24%) said they were already stocking AFVs in their showrooms, while an additional 37% were considering stocking AFVs in the near future. Fuelled by demand, 20% of dealers said their customers had expressed an interest in purchasing an AFV.

Commenting on the findings, Sean Kemple, director of sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, said: “Britain’s dealers are already coping with a range of issues – from Brexit, confusion over fuel types, not to mention a global slowdown. This latest announcement will add to the already considerable pressure that they are under, particularly those who deal with new cars.

“There’s no doubt that developments in technology mean that we are already on the verge of cars with an acceptable range for most drivers. This will only improve in the years to come. So, in theory at least, the cars themselves will be ready for the Government’s proposed date. What is less certain is the infrastructure available to support, customer confusion, and cost to entry.

“The research shows that out of this confusion, many dealers are seizing the opportunities where they see them. A quarter have already predicted the change of wind towards alternative fuel vehicles, with another third weighing up the options. It is up to Government to listen to and work with the industry to ensure that no one is left behind.”

Dealers’ attitudes toward Government’s announcement to ban petrol and diesel cars as early as 2032

There aren’t enough alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) to replace petrol and diesel cars 87%
The ban will cause confusion 86%
The ban will be too early 66%
The ban will have a negative impact on my business 59%
The ban will make people more reluctant to buy cars 59%
The ban won’t make much of a difference as more consumers are turning to alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) anyway 36%
I’ve already invested in selling alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) to combat the ban 22%
The ban will have a positive impact on my business 14%
None of these 1%


Dealers’ attitudes towards alternatively fuelled vehicles

I’m not currently stocking this type of vehicle 65%
Customers are interested in electric vehicles, but there are concerns over the number of charging points 20%
I have seen an increase in sales of AFVs 14%
More customers have expressed an interest in AFVs, but I haven’t seen sales increase 14%
I have sourced more AFVs for my showroom on the assumption that demand will increase 12%
I have seen no change in the attitude towards AFVs 12%
I’ve seen AFV sales go down 2%
None of these 6%



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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.