MOTORISTS BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL AS CONFIDENCE RETURNS

Britons are getting back in their cars after five years of cutting back on motoring, research for Halfords Autocentres has discovered.

The number of miles travelled on the roads in three months to June was up by 2.9% to 76.8 billion, the equivalent of driving nearly 250 more miles a year.*

The use of the car has consistently fallen since 2007 as motorists have been hit by ever higher bills. In that time the price of unleaded has soared by 40% from an average 96.7p a litre to the current 135.8p a litre.

However in recent months the cost of fuel has remained relatively stable and is down from a high of 140.2p a litre last September while general running costs have also fallen slightly for those owning family sized vehicles**.

Halfords Autocentres used the latest Government road statistics to reveal that the number of vehicles on the highways increased in the months May to June by 4.9% on motorways, 3.6 % on minor country roads and 1.4% on main ‘A’ roads. And the growth has come from an upsurge in mileage done by small vehicles rather than heavy good lorries.

The figures coincide with the country feeling more confident about the economy and with studies showing people are taking more getaway breaks and holidays in the UK. Research for Halfords found over eight in ten car owners planned day trips this summer.

Rory Carlin from Halfords Autocentres commented: “We know that motorists have had it tough and the cost of driving has had a painful impact but for most the car is still an essential part of their everyday lives as a means of getting to work or travelling to a destination either to visit friends and relatives or just getting away for a break.

“The increased use of minor roads indicated that its leisure trips that are on the increase rather than business or commuter traffic which would use the main routes.

“It could be that motorists are budgeting better and are taking advantage of better deals or are driving more carefully to get extra miles per gallon. People know that to get the best from their vehicles they have to be well serviced and Halfords Autocentre technicians provide an excellent value for money service to help ease the cost of driving.”

The latest figures are in marked contrast to a Halfords Autocentres’ “Friend of the Motorist” study carried out last autumn which revealed car owners had changed their habits in response to the financial demands of keeping a vehicle on the road by staying at home more and making fewer trips.

ENDS

Media contacts

Hettie Zammit or Stuart Humphreys

Tel: 01527 513315

Email: hettie.zammit@halfords.co.uk or stuart.humphreys@halfords.co.uk

About Halfords Autocentres

Halfords Autocentres is a leading independent MOT, car service, repair and tyre garage network. We employ highly trained ATA accredited technicians and use the latest in vehicle diagnostic equipment at 290 sites – and are expanding monthly - to deliver dealership quality work at affordable prices.

Being independent expert’s means that we are able to service, repair and maintain any make or model of car in line with the manufacturer’s standards, whilst offering a local price match promise and peace of mind in the form of a minimum guarantee of 12 months or 12,000 miles on work carried out. (See website for terms and conditions)

The Halfords Autocentres name may be a recent addition to the Halfords Group, but our heritage spans more than three decades and we serve over 750,000 customers every year - with over 8 out of 10 of them being happy to recommend us to their friends.

www.halfordsautocentres.com

About Us

Halfords is the UK's leading retailer of automotive, cycling and leisure products and, through Halfords Autocentres, also one of the UK's leading independent car servicing and repair operators. Halfords customers shop at 465 stores in the UK and ROI and at halfords.com for pick-up at their local store or direct home delivery. Halfords Autocentres operates from around 300 sites nationally and offers motorists dealership-quality MOTs, repairs and car servicing at affordable prices. The Halfords group strategy is based on three pillars: · Supporting Drivers Of Every Car · Inspiring Cyclists Of Every Age · Equipping Families For Their Leisure Time The Getting Into Gear strategy for the Retail business is based on executing in five key areas in order to deliver a significantly-enhanced customer experience: · Service Revolution · The H Factor · Stores Fit to Shop · 21st Century Infrastructure · Click with the Digital Future Halfords employs approximately 12,000 colleagues and sells around 9,000 product lines in store, increasing to around 160,000 Retail products online. The Retail offering encompasses significant ranges in car parts, cycling products, in-car technology, child seats, roof boxes and camping equipment. Halfords’ own cycling brands include Apollo, Carrera and Boardman cycles, augmented by a range of other brands of cycles and accessories, including Kona, Mongoose, Raleigh and Pinarello. In Auto, the Halfords Essentials and Halfords Enhanced ranges are sold alongside brands such as Generic Electric, Bosch, Garmin and TomTom. The Retail Auto offering was recently augmented by the introduction of Car Parts Direct, a service delivering rapid customer access to around 130,000 car parts. In Travel Solutions, Halfords sells a premium range of camping equipment including brands such as Vango and Outwell. Halfords offers customers expert advice and a fitting service for car parts, child seats, satellite navigation and in-car entertainment systems, and a service for cycles.

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