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What Car and Classic & Sports Car magazines record impressive ABC circulation rises

What Car? and Classic & Sports Car magazines have increased their circulations, according to the latest audited ABC figures.

Both Haymarket Automotive monthly titles surged despite incredibly turbulent market conditions, with pandemic restrictions including lockdowns and travel restrictions, including at airports where sales of monthly titles are traditionally strong.

What Car?’s performance also defied an incredibly challenging new car sales market, with the availability of new cars heavily restricted as a result of semiconductor chip shortages, highlighting its ongoing strength as a trusted resource of information for car buyers.

Rachael Prasher, Managing Director of Haymarket Automotive, said: “These figures are a testament to the hard work that everyone has put in over these tumultuous past years. Producing a magazine at any time is hard, but doing it in a pandemic harder still.

To emerge with more people buying these magazines despite the challenges is nothing short of remarkable. It underlines What Car?’s unrivalled position in the market as the consumer car buying champion, and re-emphasises Classic & Sports Car’s pre-eminence among its competitors as the title of choice.”

What Car?’s growth was driven by a 9.4% rise in off-the-shelf sales in the shops, and a 11.7% rise in digital subscriptions. Steve Huntingford, Editor, What Car? said: “We’ve worked hard to redesign and refine the magazine, never losing our laser focus on putting the needs of car buyers at the heart of every decision. To record an ABC rise when substantially fewer cars are actually being sold as a result of parts shortages underlines our belief that nobody reviews cars for real-world car buyers as relevantly as we do.”

Reflecting on 2.9% growth, notably driven by a 6.2% rise in off-the-shelf purchases, Alastair Clements, Editor in chief, Classic & Sports Car, said: “Producing an enthusiasts’ title that relies to a large degree on testing cars and being out and about at events during lockdowns and restrictions has been incredibly challenging, but these results reaffirm our position as leaders in the market and are a huge testament to the efforts of a tight-knit team that has at times worked miracles over the past 12 months.”

Leading weekly title Autocar was marginally down year-on-year, posting a 3.4% fall having been hit harder by the lockdowns early in the year. Weekly magazines felt the squeeze of reduced in-store footfall more than monthlies. This was compounded by ongoing suppressed sales through travel outlets, a traditionally strong area for Autocar. However, it once again recorded a rise in digital subscribers, with more than 7000 people reading the magazine online each week as a result of a 3.5% rise overall.

Chris Daniels, Chief Revenue Officer for Haymarket Automotive, concluded: “The market-leading reputation of our brands is built off the back of the huge consumer followings they have built up. To record such positive results in the most difficult of times underlines once again the dedication of their teams and the loyalty and engagement of their readers.

These results give us huge amounts of positive energy as we strive to have an even better 2022, and demonstrate once again that Haymarket Automotive’s titles have access to the very biggest and best audiences.” 

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