AM Online

'Overwhelming majority' of buyers willing to visit car showrooms

More than three-quarters (76%) of in-market buyers are planning to visit a car showroom in the next three months, despite the ongoing Coronavirus risks.

Of those heading to a retailer, 78% said the new Omicron variant has not impacted their decision to go, with the rest waiting for case numbers to decline before visiting.

The majority (74%) of those who won’t visit a showroom in the next three months, said they had no plans to visit and the new variant has not impacted their decision. A quarter (24%) said they had decided to postpone a showroom visit due to Omnicron.

The research of 1,403 in-market buyers was carried out by What Car?.

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: “Despite a new Covid variant, trust in dealerships remains extremely high from buyers, with the majority intending to visit a showroom between now and March.

“This shows the work the sector has done throughout the pandemic has paid off, with buyers confident that dealerships are safe places to visit. It is important showrooms continue to apply Covid measures, as most buyers still want to see social distancing and hygiene measures in place when visiting.”

Buyers remain “highly confident” showrooms can continue to be operated in a safe way even with the new, more transmissible COVID variant. Of all buyers surveyed by What Car?, 94% said they trust showrooms to be run in a COVID-safe manner. This is nearly identical to last spring when What Car? asked the same question, with 95% believing showrooms were safe places to visit.

The research also found 72% of buyers would avoid visiting a showroom if it did not have adequate COVID measures in place, including social distancing guidelines, hygiene stations, and staff and customers required to wear a mask.

A quarter (25%) of UK car dealers have started 2022 with staff absence of over 15% as the Omicron variant continued to grow cases, an AM poll has shown.

Run just days after the UK Government changed its testing guidelines in a bid to prevent staff shortages crippling the economy, the survey showed that 44% of car retail businesses had been ‘moderately’ impacted by COVID-related absences of up to 15%.

Before Christmas AM reported that rising cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 were exposing anti-vaxxers as one of the car retail sector’s biggest business disruptors.

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