As such, we have recently commissioned private research into the changing nature of the sector and over the coming weeks we intend to serialise some of the findings. The research has examined the age profile of classic car owners and the apparent lack of interest from the next generation, the impact that this could have on the companies reliant on the sector, and how best to promote the industry going forward. A fascinating read!
We felt that there were many issues that are not being discussed on a wider platform or even considered by the industry; for instance, if autonomous cars become widespread over the next twenty years how will the industry engage future generations that may never even have the need to drive a car, let alone one with a manual gearbox? What is a car of interest and how is this changing with the growing popularity of modern classics? And where do future generations turn to for information about the sector in a digital age?
If interest in the sector falls over the medium to long term the risks to those companies who rely on the sector are obvious; without a flow of passionate owners coming through the ranks who will drive the need for the services which support the industry? If the demand for panel beaters, trimmers, bespoke component manufacturers and woodwork restorers falls it seems obvious that there would not be the need to train new craftsmen, potentially leading to a huge loss of knowledge essential to the ongoing ownership of older cars, thus creating a vicious cycle.
The classic and sports car sector has seen a huge amount of interest in recent years, not only through well publicised climbing values, but also with the emergence of manufacturers creating in-house historic vehicle restoration programs – barely a week seems to go by without mainstream press coverage of the sector in some way. However, with the average classic car owner being in their early fifties, instead of looking at the now we should be considering who will be the future custodians? We think we know and will report in March! Author is Mark Tofts.