Considerations on insuring the auto trade as the industry can’t find the next gear

The automotive industry continues to be in a precarious position as the global shortage of semiconductors combined with other geopolitical issues are impacting both supply and demand for new vehicles.

The latest car sales figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal that from January to April this year, sales of new cars in Northern Ireland were almost 11% higher than in the same period in 2021.

14,272 new cars were purchased in Northern Ireland in the first four months of the year, compared to 12,894 the previous year.

But as if to underline the volatility in the industry, April suffered a 2.5% drop here with 3,212 cars sold, 83 less than April 2021. This meant that April, excluding April 2020 when lockdowns were in place was the worst month for car sales in Northern Ireland since SMMT started recording sales.

Manufacturers have been battling to get new cars to the fore amid a global shortage of semiconductors (microchips) caused by the pandemic and exasperated by a surge in demand once lockdowns are lifted.

With some new vehicles fitted with more than 40 microchips, it’s easy to see how the shortage could last longer into the year.

Demand for new cars remained strong for spare parts, with the price of used cars sometimes higher than new models due to their availability. The waiting time for new cars can often exceed six months.

The situation is playing out as manufacturers also plan to switch to electric vehicles to meet future net zero targets.

Regardless of the size of your auto trade business, there are many factors that need to be considered right now to ensure it stays healthy.

One less thing you should worry about should be insurance, especially if you are reviewing your policies with your broker.

Finding a competitive auto trade policy can sometimes be a long and complicated process, but an expert broker can help you and the best ones will get the best deal for you.

The best brokers can tailor a policy to suit your business needs with additional coverage elements specifically designed to meet your needs.

The type of car insurance you need depends on the automotive field in which you operate.

A robust combination policy tailored to your exact needs can give you the coverage and, above all, the peace of mind you need.

Auto Trade Combined is a comprehensive policy designed to provide coverage for all aspects of your auto trade business. Whether you run an independent business out of a small garage or as part of a larger business, Combined Auto Trade has you covered.

Key features may include: liability, employers’ liability, service allowance, goods in transit and, especially in the current climate, business interruption.

Another key feature that can be important, especially in times of rising prices, is coverage for damage to business premises, vehicles and equipment.

:: Andy Craig is a Commercial Account Manager at AbbeyAutoline (

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