A 9% drop in new car sales compared to the previous year confirmed that the "market is getting tougher" but used car opportunity remained strong in January, according to enquiryMAX.
Used sales increased by 0.5% during the first month of the year as new sales dropped 9% against the same month in 2017, it said.
Finance penetration rose, thanks to a 13% jump in PCP sales between January 2017 and 2018, while contract hire remained static.
EnquiryMAX’s managing director David Boyce (pictured) said: “It is clear the market is getting tougher. January in 2017 was a big month for new and used car sales, and while the drop in new sales is in line with the market, it is good to see used sales remain strong.”
The analysis of data from 700 dealers in the UK showed telephone enquiries dropped by 8% while internet leads increased by 19%. Leads from manufacturers increased by 20% over the same period.
“The internet continues to prove a valuable channel for leads, and it is important that all the money spent bringing customers to your website, or virtual forecourt, isn’t wasted through poor management of the enquiry," said Boyce.
"Buyers expect a prompt and seamless response."