Peter Vosper: Torbay businesses take the first step back towards normality

One area showing dramatic growth is battery-powered vehicles

One area showing dramatic growth is battery-powered vehicles - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

As Torbay welcomes holiday visitors for the first time for over three months optimism is growing.

Peter Vosper

Peter Vosper - Credit: Archant

There can be no question this will be a vital summer and autumn for the Torbay area and while the message must be 'proceed with caution', it is a real opportunity to get moving again.

This is a massive challenge but there are many holidaymakers looking for a safe and friendly break for themselves and their families.

Many will choose to reach their destination by car as this ensures a safe method of travel with no concerns of social distancing.

It also means they are not reliant on public transport to move around and enjoy the beautiful area and its attractions.

The new car market numbers for June have been released and while the headline statistics show a 34 per cent drop on the same period last year, there are many factors which contribute to this and hide a far more positive story.

In the whole of the UK the private market was only down 19 per cent and as Wales and Scotland were not able to open their showrooms until late in the month, England has fared much better.

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In fact, Vospers' sales of new cars in Devon and Cornwall were up slightly, and used cars up substantially, on June last year.

Of course, some of this was a catch-up from two months of inactivity but there were encouraging signs of confidence in the market.

One area showing dramatic growth is battery powered vehicles, i.e. pure electric, which were up from 2,461 in June 2019 to 8,903 in June 2020, and as I have mentioned before, this is set to grow as more product and more charging facilities arrive during the next 12 months.

Hybrids have grown too, from 17,581 to 25,567 as we move to a cleaner and greener environment for the benefit of us all.

Manufacturers have many attractive offers as they seek to recover their losses of the past months by stimulating the market.

They will be hoping the Chancellor's message this week will add even more encouragement to private and business buyers to update their cars and vans and help to stimulate the economy.

It is vital for business to get moving again and although there will be some that will not survive, local business will continue to provide much-needed services, products, and employment in their area.

This means all local and regional businesses need your support in these difficult times.

I am extremely impressed by the innovative ways business has dealt with the issues of coronavirus and the additional processes and protective equipment that ensure a safe and pleasant experience.

If you haven't tried it then the simple way is to check what the business is doing on the website or phone them and ask.

Then if you are comfortable make an appointment and see how it goes – you can also ask them if they will visit you, deliver or collect, and I am sure they will be pleased to help.

It would be great if we all work together to make the best of this difficult situation. I am confident we will.

Stay safe and keep smiling and please join me next week.