Classic car industry must change or ‘risk decline’ as older people keep sector booming

The classic car industry is estimated to contribute around £18.3 billion to the UK economy and employ around 113,000 people. For this reason, a new report outlines how the sector must attract and appeal to a new demographic of classic car fans to ensure a “prosperous future or risk decline”.

The studies in the report, from Footman Jamesemphasizes that young audiences are interested in buying classic cars.

About half of Gen Z respondents said they would consider owning a classic vehicle in the future.

For millennials (those aged 26-41), that number drops to 35% of respondents who say they would consider owning a classic car in the future.

However, if companies offered co-ownership to millennials, 51% of this age group said they would consider co-ownership, highlighting an area for improvement and growth.

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But with 22% of women saying they would consider owning a classic car in the future, and 19% unsure, it shows a business case for attracting these female buyers.

David Bond, Managing Director of Footman James, said: “Change is good for our community.

“In many ways, as this report highlights, we have changed and evolved as a mainstream automotive sector, using technology and communities where needed.

“But, if we look around, it’s clear that our industry isn’t doing enough to change fast enough, especially when it comes to the gender and age of enthusiasts.

“Talking to our customers and even the public about classic and collectible cars, as a community we are considered as old school as our cars.

“We need to listen to these criticisms and become more attractive, inclusive and welcoming in the new era of the classic vehicle community.

“After all, without change, we wouldn’t have pushed the classic and enthusiast vehicle sector so far.”

In 2019, the DVLA recognized 457,918 classic cars, of which 154,817 are SORNed.

This figure rose to 479,975 in 2020, as those registered up to 1980 entered the fold.

In 2021, that figure stood at 496,477, or almost 1.4% of all cars registered in the UK.

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