Industry: Stalling car sales blamed on election uncertainty

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A dramatic drop in the number of people planning to buy cars over the next 12 months is being blamed on the election, according to the latest quarterly Autoglass Car Confidence Index.

Figures from the survey show that the number of people intending to buy cars during the coming year has dropped by one fifth, from 36 per cent to 30 per cent.

Car buyers' confidence had been at a three-year high from August 1996 until January 1997, but these latest figures show motorists are stalling on their decision to buy new vehicles.

The latest Autoglass survey quizzed prospective car buyers on why they were hesitant to buy and discovered that 60 per cent of drivers concerned about the election fear they will be worse off under any new government.

Andy Edyvean, Autoglass manager, said: "Cars are major purchases and the political climate is clearly affecting buyers' attitudes."

"We are hoping this fall is just a blip and things will go back to normal after the election. The trend is for booming car sales and we are convinced that record-breaking highs will soon return."

The latest statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders also show a drop in the number of cars being registered for March, down by 0.2 per cent.

The total number of cars registered for the first quarter of 1997 was up by 3.48 per cent at 549,534 cars, 18,485 more than the same period last year.