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'January is second most important month for new car enquiries after March'

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January is becoming a more important month for new vehicle enquiries than plate-change September – and second only to March.

Findings from showroom management system supplier Dealerweb indicate the volume of sales enquiries for franchised dealerships across the UK in January was 18% greater than in September.

To underline the shift, new vehicle sales enquiries in January this year rose by 11%, year-on-year, whereas during September they actually fell, by 4%.

Dealerweb said this represents the marked acceleration of a trend evident last year, when enquiries in January were 2% higher than in September 2014.

It examined full-year new vehicle sales enquiries and sales conversion figures across 12 leading volume and prestige car manufacturer brands.

The company attributes the growing importance of January for driving sales to some determined promotional activity by many manufacturers and dealers keen to kick-start their year with strong sales.

Although enquiries fell in September this year, conversion rates have held up, with reported orders taken rising during the month, year-on-year, by 5%.

This strong conversion performance suggests that many dealers across the UK are reaping the benefits of more robust sales processes, aided greatly by showroom management tools.

James Hill, Dealerweb sales operations director, said: “The data shows how important it is for dealers to make a flying start in the New Year.

“Rivals will probably be planning aggressive campaigns and the conversion rates suggest many consumers are in the mood to buy.

“We’re expecting enquiry levels in January 2016 to be even higher than in 2015, so dealers will need on top of their game when it comes to generating and managing enquiries.

“Dealers should make it their New Year’s Resolution to firm up their enquiry management processes to ensure they make the most of the growing new year opportunity.”

The data underpinning the Dealerweb research comes from those dealers using the Dealerweb Evo 8 Showroom Management software, a fully integrated system that manages the full sales process, from initial customer enquiry through to placement of an order. 

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