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How The UK Motoring Market Differs From The USA

Uk Motor Market

Of course there have been differences for decades, both in car design and even terminology Hood V Bonnet, Fender V Bumper etc. But as the world gets smaller and more Americans drive either European cars or Japanese, there are still gaping differences.

Lets start with Petrol prices of Gas in the USA.

Most Americans would scream at paying the price per gallon as they do in the UK and even worse France. There is oil production in the UK, but it is nothing compared to the fields within the USA, but the real killer are the taxes the UK government add to the price of every gallon. Diesel is also much more popular in the UK than in the USA, due to better miles per gallon.

Vehicles In General

The result of this, is the UK have been driving around smaller engined lighter cars for decades now. Especially since the oil crisis of the early seventies. Smaller roads and the European “Roundabout” not seen on USA roads, also means sharper steering is preferred. There are very few straight roads in Britain.

Car manufacturing has remained steady in both the USA and the UK, except Britain does not own one single large manufacturer, they are all foreign owned. Where the USA has kept hold of at lease a few of them. Some have chosen to open factories in Mexico and then import the vehicles back into the USA to keep costs down, something not all Americans agree with or like.

Vehicle Parts

There is more of a similar picture when it comes to purchasing new parts though. In both nations there are factories rolling out OEM versions of even foreign makes. Buy online or at larger stores is a similar story. A lot of after-market copy parts do come from China to both nations. You can see a list of UK part suppliers here at CarUnited.

When it comes to used parts though, the USA seem to have a better system for location. Most USA breaker yards work with each other to locate parts, they look on a search database and will get for a customer buying at trade price and adding some profit on for themselves. In the UK there are networks, but very few are connected to see each others stock. So many breaker yards only remove parts when there is a demand. The USA also has some set price yards. I.e. $100 dollars for all engines. $70 for all gearboxes etc. In the UK everything is individually priced, which can vary from yard to yard.

Buying Older Cars

Ironically, cars tend to now drop to the value of vehicles in the UK. You will struggle to get a roadworthy banger for $1000 in the USA, but in the UK there are vehicles with MOT sold for £250 everyday, that still have life in them.

When it comes to more power and going faster, the European way has been to produce lighter more agile cars, in the USA adding bigger engines has been the way for decades, lower fuel prices and bigger roads makes it worthwhile is many cases.


Sometimes though, car safety has been ahead of that in the UK. Added components such as airbags and heightened bumpers al arrived on the USA before the UK. Although the standard 55mph speed limit is not right through the USA, the UK has always had faster road speeds of up to 70mph on motorways and a standard speed limit of 60mph for “A roads.”

The Motor Business

It is also far easier to set up as a motor dealer in the UK. After 3 or more cars are sold per momth ion the USA, you then need a licence to trade and follow certain regulations for property ect. In the UK, the rules are far more relaxed, allowing prospective motor trader time to build up a business before certain laws are mandatory.


It is true that car design and trends are becoming more universally aligned. But there is still some way to go before the USA and UK will feel the same and maybe it never should.

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