The Automotive Industry has taken its fair share of setbacks during and post the Pandemic, from semiconductor shortages to lowered car sales and production halts, the latter exacerbated by the additional supply issues caused by the Ukrainian war.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
July 2022 saw UK vehicle production increase 12% to 66,140 units from July 21 and a significant investment of more than £3.4 billion into the UK Automotive Industry this year, primarily for EV production and supply chains, will create and safeguard jobs within the sector.
Alongside this, technology is progressing rapidly and some of the most exciting automotive advances are happening. Here we look at the current trends that will continue to grow in 2023, making a positive impact on the UK Automotive Industry.
As the UK prepares itself for the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales, consumer demand for electric vehicles will continue to increase in 2023. With an estimated 477,000 electric cars and 790,000 plug-in hybrids on the road today in the UK, it is projected that by the end of this year electric cars will outsell diesel cars and will continue to do so in 2023.
March 2022 saw the highest volume of battery electric vehicles registrations ever recorded in a single month, with 39,315 new EVs leaving dealerships – an increase of 78.7% on March 2021 – and it will be interesting to see what the new 72 registration plate does for EV sales this month.
With more charging points popping up across the country and the price of fuel remaining high, it will be interesting to see how much more market share EVs will take in 2023.
From reversing cameras to digital wiper alerts and hands-free GPS instructions, driver-assisted level 1 automation is now ingrained into many peoples’ daily driving and is here to stay. What is starting to pick up speed however is autonomous driving, which doesn’t simply assist the driver but rather takes over from the driver.
Scary? Quite possibly when you consider Tesla’s Full Self Driving technology (level 3, with 5 being the highest) has been involved in the first-known charge of vehicular manslaughter against the driver of a car set to self-drive. This happened back in Jan of this year in America, a country that has also seen several crashes due to Tesla being unable to recognise parked emergency vehicles.
The UK is slightly behind when it comes to allowing autonomous vehicles on the road, but new legislation set out last month (19th Aug 22) plans for a safe rollout of self-driving vehicles by 2025. This legislation enables the UK Automotive Industry, going into 2023, to start taking full advantage of the emerging self-driving market, which could create up to 38,000 jobs and will be worth an estimated £42 billion. The plans, backed by a £100 million investment, will see some vehicles including cars, coaches, and lorries with self-driving features operating on the roads in 2023, making the coming 12 months an exciting prospect, when it comes to technological advancement.
Growth of the UK Aftermarket
The UK automotive aftermarket ranks fourth in Europe and ninth in the world in terms of size, turning over an impressive annual £21.1 billion. The sector supports 345,600 jobs and contributes £12.2 billion each year to the UK economy with the sector’s value set to rise to £28 billion by the end of this year.
More cars are on the road every year, and the complexity with which to fix them is growing too. With new technologies and features constantly being introduced (see points one and two), the UK Aftermarket is expected to grow over the next 5 years.
With a large proportion of customers delaying new car purchases, the demand for repair and maintenance will increase, which will in turn boost the market size of the UK’s parts industry. An industry already set to grow 5.5% by the end of 2022. What’s more, limited changes are expected in the price of imported car parts. This will restrict pressure on purchase costs and support profitability, creating a great business opportunity for car dealerships to make financial gains during 2023.
For newer car purchases, connectivity – the ability for cars to link to the Internet of Things (IoT) – is enabling some repairs to be carried out remotely too, another area of opportunity for growth and profitability next year and beyond.
Advanced Manufacturing Technologies and New Materials
A common theme throughout this article is the growing demand for new and innovative products within the automotive industry, which continually pushes manufacturers to innovate. This has led to the development of advanced manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printing and robotics, both of which can create products quickly with minimal waste, benefitting businesses, and drivers alike.
Although 3D printing and robotics are already used in the UK automotive industry, they are expected to become more commonplace in 2023, which will in turn speed up the rate at which manufacturers will continue to innovate.
In addition to new manufacturing technologies being expanded, new materials are also being produced. These materials can be used to create lighter and stronger vehicles, which supports innovation in manufacturing by enabling cars to be lighter, more efficient, and so on. Carbon Fibre, Graphene, and Magnesium are all examples of materials that are strong yet lightweight, supporting the increased efficiency of new vehicles.
Luxury Car Market Growth
Over the past two years, high-end luxury brands have experienced unexpected success. Whether those with disposable incomes have simply decided to treat themselves coming out of the pandemic, or whether many are looking to make a financial investment, wealthy people in the UK are splashing out on more luxury supercars than ever before. More than 18,000 supercars, such as Ferrari, Bugatti, Aston Martin, and Maserati, were registered at UK addresses in 2021, a 19% increase in 2020.
Over the past 5 years, the internet search volume for ‘luxury car market is up 50%, with searches for ‘Rolls-Royce’ also substantially increasing last year – the same year in which the brand experienced their highest number of sales ever having sold 5586 cars, an increase of 49% on the previous year. Bentley also sold more than 14k vehicles, which was a 31% increase from 2020, making 2021 a record year for them too.
The UK Luxury Car Market is expected to grow further still, with an impressive CAGR in the forecast period, 2023-2027. Whether it be rising disposable income, growing demand to drive in style, or a way to show off wealth, the trend is here to stay in 2023.
There are exciting developments in the UK Automotive Industry that are going to see the market change exponentially over the coming years. With all-electric cars making up a large proportion of new cars set to be released in 2023, we look forward to seeing the new EV offerings from the likes of BMW, Audi, Kia, and Hyundai and we’re interested to see just how closely the all-electric Alfa Romeo Giulia will rival the Tesla Model 3.
When it comes to the luxury market, the Porsche 911 Dakar and Maserati Gran Turismo are looking to be likely hits unless we’re talking outrageous luxury, in which case all eyes will be on the Aston Martin Valhalla, an absolute beast of a car that will be setting drivers back at least £400k when released next year.