As a stark instance of this, of the 3000 automobiles Vertu has been promoting per week, solely round 70 are ‘pure’ on-line gross sales, the place the shopper researches the automobile, organises the part-exchange, completes the finance and has the automobile delivered with out ever speaking to a member of workers.
That stated, when dealerships do open, some human contact will likely be lowered completely. “Earlier than the final lockdown, we had actual success with unaccompanied take a look at drives,” stated Forrester. “Prospects appreciated it and the gross sales workers most well-liked it, as a result of it freed them as much as be extra productive as they weren’t sitting behind a automobile.”
Others verify this blended strategy. Vauxhall managing director Paul Willcox stated: “It’s possible we’ll see a hybrid strategy to retailing sooner or later, with much more completed on-line, however we imagine, on the entire, that folks need to cope with individuals they usually additionally need to see, contact and take a look at drive the automobiles, so our retailer community will proceed to have a really invaluable position sooner or later.”
As for what customers are shopping for, by way of used automobiles Forrester agreed with a latest research by Cap HPI that picked up on sturdy demand for sports activities automobiles and convertibles, with values rising by 7% prior to now yr, in contrast with a 3% drop the 12 months earlier than that. “Used automobile values are up throughout the board,” he stated. “However there’s sturdy demand for most of these automobiles particularly as a result of they [buyers] desire a little bit of enjoyable. Land Rover is doing rather well for a similar purpose, with clients eager on the approach to life angle and able to break the tedium of lockdown.”
Within the new automobile sector, the pandemic has accelerated the transfer in the direction of electrification, even with out the added impetus of the 2030 deadline for the ban of combustion-engined automobiles. With fewer miles travelled, larger alternative and an ever-improving charging infrastructure, patrons are more and more more likely to make the swap. In response to the SMMT’s figures for February 2021, whereas total new automobile gross sales had been down by 35.3% yr on yr, registrations of EVs rose by 40.2% and PHEVs by 52.1% for a 13% market share.
In fact, this expectation of steadily growing gross sales throughout the board wants inventory to be obtainable. “Used inventory is ok,” stated Forrester. “New automobile gross sales gained’t be the issue, both, however new automobile provide is probably a much bigger challenge. You’ve acquired the potential for additional lockdowns in Europe, plus potential Covid delays within the factories and provide chains. All this implies new automobile provide may very well be tight.”