AM Online

Dealers respond more quickly to web enquiries

Almost a third of used car retailers feel less confident about their prospects in the sector compared with a year ago, fearing a dip in residuals and rising competition from used car supermarkets – not least those backed by financial organisations like Private & Commercial and Black Horse.

The findings, taken from an AM/Auto Trader survey, showed that almost 44% felt just as confident, while 23% were more confident about used car prospects.

Retailers are making much better use of the internet which is helping them to gain sales in rival territories – 61% say it helps them to generate sales outside their sphere of influence – but just a third (34.16%) have dedicated or specially trained sales staff to handle internet sales leads, a small (4%) increase on the survey carried out 12 months ago.

Response times are also speeding up, with 91% of retailers answering email enquiries within a day. Of these, however, less than half (42%) respond within an hour which might be losing them potential sales. Still, it’s a noticeable improvement on 2003’s survey when almost 40% failed to respond within one day.

AM editor Stephen Briers says: “Retailers understand the power of the internet as a route to market and a valuable marketing tool, but they still need to harness that power by having trained staff who can respond to enquiries sooner. People using websites expect to be treated as quickly as those using the phone.”

The full results from this year’s AM/Auto Trader used car dealer survey will be published in the August 27 issue of AM.

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