THE classic and collector car industry is worth £18.3 billion to the UK economy and estimated to employ approximately 113,000 people but it needs to attract and entice a new breed of classic car fan to secure its prosperous future or risk decline.
That is the finding of a new report compiled by UK classic and collector car insurance specialists Footman James.
Titled theIndicator Report, the study is focused wholly on the classic and enthusiast vehicle sector and shows that there's work to be done with making the industry a more inclusive and diverse space, and in turn to secure its growth and relevance.
Studies within the report highlight that younger audiences show an interest in buying classic cars, with nearly half (49 per cent) of Generation Z-aged respondents - ie those who will pass their test this decade, or have done recently - those under 25-years old, would consider owning a classic vehicle in the future.
For millennials (those aged between 26 and 41-years old), that number slips to 35 per cent of respondents saying they would consider owning a classic car in the future. However, if businesses offered shared ownership to millennials, 51 per cent of this age group said that they would consider joint ownership, thus showcasing an area for improvement and growth.
Diversity and inclusion are areas that Footman James' Indicator Report has researched, showing that the sector is more than just a money-making industry, but that it also breeds communities.
The review highlights the lockdown-induced REVS community and the long-standing PistonHeads forums, and how they have grown and reacted to times and trends.
However, Footman James urges community and club managers to look further than traditional classic car fans and open clubs to more people to attract new audiences and breed new classic car fans and owners.
A large goal for growth, inclusivity and diversity should be with female classic car fans, according to theIndicator Report.
Despite research suggesting more women are owning classic cars than ever before, just nine per cent of Footman James' clients are female. But with 22 per cent of women reporting they would consider owning a classic car in the future, and 19 per cent not sure.
Managing director of Footman James, David Bond, said: "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. 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. After all, without change, we wouldn't have grown the classic and enthusiast vehicle sector this far."