AM Online

Parker's forecourt focus: Consumers trade up

September was something of a strange month as far as the behaviour of consumers is concerned.

It seemed they were tightening their money belts in the face of falling house price growth, uncertain economic conditions and a mountain of personal debt. So it came as no surprise that the registration figures for new cars were down year-on-year by more than 5%.

But delve deeper into the figures and all is not as it seems – BMW’s 3-Series outsold Ford’s Mondeo and crept into the top ten. Indeed BMW has registered more cars this year than has Citroën. That’s surprising, given that if spending is being reined in, then any money being spent should go on less expensive cars.

However, what the consumer is actually after is maximum value for money and that means going after the upmarket brands. It’s no coincidence that some big luxury brands, such as AGA cookers, are reporting a major uplift in sales and this is repeated in the car world with Audi, Porsche, Honda and Saab all increasing sales of cars compared with last year.

With unemployment low, people feel they have money to spend, but they are aiming to buy the car. Given that, there are likely to be more than a few pre-reg deals going on through November and into December.

Consumers are in the mood to buy the best car possible which means this could be the time to tempt them with a high-value deal.

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