Car dealers assunimg the brace position but we’ve been here before

What a load of cuts! We have been hearing about the cuts and austerity measures that are needed for some time now and, as the chancellor revealed, they will be deep and potentially fatal for many people.

Lots of us will face major hardship and public sector workers will be hit hardest of all in terms of their job security. I don’t pretend to understand much of what’s going on but I do remember that when this started it seemed to be as a result of toxic debt in the subprime US housing market and reckless lending by banks, many of which were bailed out by us the tax payer and now we will clearly carry on carrying the burden (as well as the can) for years to come.

Much cleverer people than me have decided that this is the best course of action for our country and I sure hope they are right because, if not, we will surely return to dark days of 1979 and the “winter of discontent” when the country was in virtual meltdown.

We are already hearing mumblings from car dealer groups of cuts in jobs and showroom closures for next year and, although our car exports are up on previous years, it is a worrying time in any kind of retailing especially big ticket items like cars.

What I do remember vividly, however is not long ago 4wd, gas guzzling, lumpy cars values fell off a cliff and people were virtually giving them away, and very soon after that people realised that things weren’t quite that bad and car values began to rise and rise rapidly almost nonstop for the best part of 18 months. As car depreciation falls into more traditional patterns, dealers will be bracing themselves for some trying times.

It would have probably been better had the coalition announced these cuts in January then at least we would have the feel good factor of a new year and the winter sales to keep a positive outlook, having them now just seems depressing.

The headlines however will quickly die down and when the protests fade, we get back to normal and the weather becomes severe (what happened to global warming?) I am glad I’m in the car business because we are always a short car ride from disaster and losses and we came out of recession quicker than anyone last time. Most of us are resilient and hardworking enough to make it happen this time.

When the pristine cars come driving out of the showroom with another happy customer behind the wheel I will breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to the next challenge that faces us.

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