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Cars – reserved for the rich?

New car sales are at a dangerously low level, after last year’s already poor sales fell in excess of 20%. It means the car industry had it’s second-worst May in thirty years.

UK car manufacturing mirrored the fall, with almost 100,000 fewer cars built in the first three months of the year compared to last. Manufacturing has dropped by nearly a third, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The SMMT linked the decline to a global shortage of computer chips and rising energy costs for manufacturers – seems to be a standard reply in most sectors now!

Yet the figures hide some small success stories. The luxury car market is up by some 16.8%. If new builds are restricted, it makes sense for manufacturers to concentrate on their highest grossing models, maximising profits in the same way, possibly? How long, also, before restricted supply leads to rocketing car prices?

Similarly, the electric car market, notorious for there being higher unit prices than the tradition Internal Combustion Engine sector, with ICE demand also under pressure from sky-high fuel prices. As oil reached $96 per barrel, the £2.00 litre has been breached – on motorways, at least. Yet oil has been far higher than that, without the astronomical rises at the pump.

I make no conclusions here, other than that car ownership cannot remain a form of mass transportation of the masses at these levels. It will become a luxury only the better-off can afford. Whether that is intentional under some Great Reset, or the accidental by-product of a forced two year economic shutdown, I’ll leave you, dear reader, to decide.

Martin Day – Party Secretary

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