The brakes could go on for car sales as more work from home

The motor trade’s hoped-for boom in car sales has been questioned by a leading industry player, which doubts whether buyers will take the leap before they have clarity on their post-lockdown working arrangements.

A total of 283,000 new cars were registered in the key March plate-change month, up by 11.5 per cent on March 2020. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said that the 2021 figure was down by 37 per cent on the average March figure over the past decade.

The motor industry is predicting a boom this spring because of pent-up demand and says buyers will have more to spend because they have saved cash over the past year.

However, Barclays Corporate Banking, a leading lender to the sector, is not so sure.

“The future of working patterns is seen by many as key to the fate of the UK vehicle market,” Karen Johnson, its head of retail and wholesale banking, said. “People need to know what their day-to-day schedules — and travel requirements — are going to look like before they commit to a new car.”

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