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A fifth of consumers to buy cars 'immediately after' coronavirus lockdown

A stock picture of someone buying a car in a dealership

Almost a fifth of car buyers are poised to make a purchase as soon as the current COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown is lifted, according to survey data published by What Car?.

The automotive consumer publication surveyed nearly 3,000 active online car researchers and found that 18.2% said that they intend to buy their next car immediately after the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

It also found that 36% of in-market buyers feel that retailers should respond to their online enquiries within 24 hours, despite the ongoing crisis, with a further 13% expecting contact within half that time and 6% want it within an hour.

Rachael Prasher, the managing director of Haymarket Automotive, which publishes What Car?, Autocar, Classic & SportsCar and CAT, said: “Consumers are still actively in research mode, and I would argue that many will seek first contact even earlier than normal as they sit at home planning for tomorrow.”

What Car? uncovered evidence that certain prospective car buyers still don’t fully understand the implications of the current retail lockdown and are looking to buy now.

Its survey revealed that 3.5% of online car researchers are still looking to complete on deals within the next four weeks.

It also revealed evidence that certain buyers still don’t fully understand the implications of the current retail lockdown and are looking to buy now.

What Car? said its survey had revealed that 3.5% of online car researchers are still looking to complete on deals within the next four weeks.

Luscombe Motor owners Robin Luscombe expressed concerns that some car dealers may still be selling vehicles in comments made to AM last week.

Luscombe said: “It’s amazing how many people think they can buy a car now.”

He said that his correspondence with customers had suggested many were “going elsewhere”.

“Somebody is selling cars, risking lives, flouting restrictions,” Luscombe said, adding: "A few quid is worthless if you are putting lives at risk.”

More realistic, given the current lockdown of trading, was the response of 8% of respondents to the What Car? survey, who said that the they were looking to complete within three months, 15% within six months and 55% during the final quarter of 2020.

Heycar chief commercial officer, Karen Hilton, highlighted the need for car retailers to nurture their customer leads during the lockdown last month.

Hilton said: “Everyone knows inbound leads are going to continue to drop as the government has implemented further measures to halt the spread of the virus and keep our community safe.

“However, this situation will change and when it does dealers must be ready to build again.”

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