A surge of interest in Vauxhall Zafira saw both new and used sales improve last month as buyers appear to have put aside concerns regarding the car catching fire, according to Buyacar.
Total sales of new Vauxhalls in Britain last month were down by a fifth on the previous year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers, but data from online motor retail specialist Buyacar suggests that this may be a blip.
Buyacar.co.uk offers both the Zafira ‘B’ model caught up in the fire issue and the more recent - unaffected - Zafira Tourer.
Analysts noted slowing interest in both models during the early part of the year, while the issue was under investigation and gaining publicity.
But sales took off again in May – for both new and used Zafiras – as Vauxhall’s efforts to end the problem paid off.
Austin Collins (pictured), co-founder and managing director of Buyacar.co.uk, said: “Vauxhall wouldn’t be the first company to find that the effect of high-profile issues can be short-lived once they are resolved and drop out of the headlines. In 2012, Toyota raised its profit forecasts – the year after its cars were cleared of having a fault that caused them to accelerate without warning.
“Many dealers even take the opportunity provided by recalls to cement their relationship with customers who bring their cars in for attention, by highlighting new models.”
Although Vauxhall Zafira enjoyed the steepest increase in sales, the Buyacar.co.uk crown for most popular overall seller in May was retained by Britain’s favourite car, the Ford Fiesta.
With sales of used Fiestas especially buoyant, the quality and reliability of Ford’s supermini is clearly appreciated by online buyers who are increasingly confident to buy the right used car without seeing it first.
The most popular new car was the Hyundai i40 while the top performing used car overall was the Audi A1 – seeing a 300% increase on April.
Total car sales on Buyacar.co.uk – which provides an online marketplace for dealers to reach more customers – were up for the fifth month running this year.
“The success of Ford Fiesta on our site simply reflects its performance in the general marketplace and it’s also little surprise that the Audi A1 is so popular with online used car buyers.
“Its premium design and quality for an affordable price is exactly what used buyers are looking for. They tend to want a precise specification - which they can usually find with our choice of hundreds of Audi A1s."
“The Hyundai i40 is another consistently popular car for us and led a strong increase in new car sales on Buyacar.co.uk last month. New car sales were particularly strong for us in May as people snapped up the tail end of the deals placed on offer to help the March registrations push.”