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We’re often asked what the future of the classic car industry looks like and a new survey, released today, aims to shed light on this, and how best to nurture and sustain it.
Some of the figures revealed in Footman James’ 2022 Indicator Report might not come as a surprise: only 9% of respondents were female, while the majority of the insurance company’s clients are in their 50s and 60s, with 31% of policyholders stating they’re retired or not employed.
But the survey also revealed a rich, passionate generation of younger classic car enthusiasts, of all genders and backgrounds – the industry’s challenge is to adapt quickly and to not be afraid to diversify, to best serve this community.
The report includes data from auction house Barrett-Jackson which states that buyers classed as Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) and Millennial (born 1981-’96) account for 44% of sales of classic cars from the 1980s and ’90s.
With 60% of respondents claiming to run their vehicle for £1000 or less each year, it’s proof that not all classics are pricey to run – plus, 34% said they’d be happy to tackle maintenance themselves.
And there is good news in that 49% of the Generation Z audience (born between 1997 and 2012) said they would consider buying a classic car.
Online communities, such as REVS and PistonHeads, as well as social media, are highlighted as key to the younger classic car community, YouTube often being the first place enthusiasts go when seeking advice.
The Footman James report also calls for people to be more broad-minded as to what constitutes a classic car.
The DVLA’s stance is that a classic has to be more than 40 years old and the, rather more detailed, definition from the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens puts the age at at least 30 years, but this survey warns of excluding ‘modern heroes’ from the ’90s and the first decade of this century.
Data demonstrates an increasing interest in hot hatches from the 1980s to the ’00s, and in European performance cars, which ties in with the idea that people buy the cars they had posters of on their bedroom walls as children.
And classic car ownership is not about money: just 3% of respondents considered owning their classic as an investment.
“Change is good for our community. In many ways, as this report highlights, we have changed and evolved as a classic car sector, using technology and communities in times of need,” commented David Bond, Managing Director of Footman James.
“But, if we look around, it’s clear to see that our industry isn’t doing enough to change quickly enough, especially around the gender and age of enthusiasts.
“Speaking to our clients and indeed the public about classic and collector cars, as a community, we’re deemed as old school as our cars, and we must listen to this criticism and become more attractive, inclusive and welcoming to the new era of the classic vehicle community.”
With the sector reportedly worth £18.3bn to the UK economy and employing around 113,000 people, it certainly is a very valuable asset. You can download the full report here.
Images: Olgun Kordal/John Bradshaw