Sales enquiries for new and used cars fell 5% year-on-year during the first quarter of 2018, while orders for new and used cars recorded by UK dealers are also down by 4%.
The decline in overall enquiries reflects the struggle to replicate the record Q1 in 2017.
However, online enquiries for new and used cars bucked the trend, according to Dealerweb data.
Part of the prominent decline is a result of comparisons with the first three months of 2017, which represented the strongest sales quarter for UK new car sales on record, according to data gathered from volume- and premium-brand dealers across the UK.
Analysis of the data by Dealerweb suggests the total number of new car orders fell by 3% in the first quarter. For used cars, total enquiries (from all sources) fell by 6% and orders fell by 5% compared to Q1 2017.
However, the decline was offset by a year-on-year increase of 11% in online (web and email) leads for new and used vehicles during the first quarter of 2018.
Dealerships have made increasing numbers of outbound calls to potential buyers. During the quarter, outbound prospecting call volumes rose by 29% compared to the first quarter of 2017.
Dealerweb’s managing director Martin Hill (pictured) said: “A modern enquiry management system can help dealers react quickly to challenging market conditions, with robust enquiry follow-up procedures and call-scheduling, and an ability to collate online leads from a variety of sources.
“When enquiries and orders are faltering, tools like this can also support efforts to drive sales of add-on products, such as GAP insurance, which can provide businesses with a valuable incremental profit stream.”