It blames a combination of negative publicity, increased competition and the aggressive pursuit by manufacturers of conquest business, often through special incentives. Daren Wiseman, senior editor of Cap Black Book, said dealers were facing tough times.
“As a retail salesman with a turnover of 230 to 240 cars per year, it was not unreasonable to expect about 30% of those to be repeat business,” he said. “Key to this was the customer's comfort in dealing with familiar people with whom they had developed a trusting relationship.”
Dealers are now under pressure from new technology, which is changing the way people buy cars.
“This does not mean people are buying online and whether that activity will ever become the norm is still anybody's guess,” said Mr Wiseman. “But it does give the customer more information than ever before and more comparative deals, including European prices, to wave at their local franchised dealer.”