The answer is: yes but the spoils will be greater for those who best manage the basics and act on the different market forces which will come into play.
Drawing on insights and research gained from manufacturer clients, Anton Hanley, managing director of The Auto Network, which incorporates consumer-facing new car information and review website motortorque.com, predicts a slight slowing of private registrations compared to the gains of 2013; the continued prevalence of PCP as a new-car buyer driver; and a comeback for fleet in 2014.
Speaking at AM’s Hit for Six Conference, which takes place on November 19 at Cedar Court Hotel, Wakefield, Hanley, whose business also provides services such as lead generation, automotive film production and digital marketing to a host of manufacturer and leasing companies, will also warn dealers to resist the temptation of pre-registration vehicles as much as possible.
He said: “Our research and insight tells us the buoyant new car registration market will continue into next year. Whilst private registrations will not be at the same pace, they will remain a vital source of custom with PCP funding likely to remain at similar ratios in 2014."
In 2012 PCP funding for private new car sales had a penetration figure of 55% whilst the FLA (Finance and Leasing Association) reported a penetration level of 73.5% of PCP products among their members as of the end of May.
Consequently, this year, PCP penetration is expected to be even higher following an abundance of PCP deals and offers from manufacturers keen to secure new car business.
Hanley said: "Dealers, however, will need to keep a good balance between attracting private buyers and facilitating fleet where demand is expected to be much greater next year. Dealers should also be wary of pre-registrations – too many could simply serve to artificially inflate the market which won’t help either retailers or their manufacturer partners in the long run.”
Hanley will take a look at the influences on the growth of new car registrations this year which has seen the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) up its forecast to from 2.22 million to 2.25 million units for 2013.
Documenting the increase in new car sales year-to-date, Hanley will also look at consumer trends including online search behaviour and the types of vehicles new car buyers are demanding.
He added: “By providing a snapshot of the new car market this year, using our own research, experience with our manufacturer clients and the wealth of data from other sources, we aim to arm dealers with the insight they need to make the best decisions for their new car strategy to ensure they grab as large a slice of the new vehicle pie as possible as we head into 2014.
“Some of the basics still need to be addressed such as responding to leads as quickly and effectively as possible, especially those which are generated online, but there are a host of digital marketing activities which dealers can easily implement particularly in terms of their online content to help drive traffic to websites and ultimately showrooms.
“The market is very positive but those dealers who take advantage of every opportunity, never miss a lead, take note of market influences and plan accordingly will enjoy the most success.”
A number of high profile speakers will take to the podium at AM’s Hit for Six Conference, designed for time-poor senior personnel who want an overview of the industry and latest thinking as well as providing those who operate across the group, such as IT, marketing, HR, accountancy and CRM staff with a broad but informative scope of issues facing automotive retail.
Topics will be tackled in the new car, used car, aftersales, finance, insurance and digital arenas by such speakers as Terry Hogan, managing director of motoring.co.uk; Trusted Dealers managing director Neil Addley; Hitachi Capital managing director Gerald Grimes; and speakers from industry suppliers such as Mapfre Abraxas and Trader Media Group.