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Motor finance firms' Q2 offers responded quickly to COVID-19

A car finance agreement being signed by a car buyer

While new car sales have been impacted as a result of showrooms closing across the UK, car manufacturers are still putting offers together for Q2 and customers can still apply for credit.

Dealers can still operate digitally on new car orders and enquiries will still be coming through the usual channels.

When showroom doors eventually re-open, new car offers will play an even greater role than usual as a way of tempting customers back to the market in what has been an uncertain time for everyone.

This will be further bolstered by interest rates being at a record low of 0.1%.

However, there may be no sense in unleashing the stronger offers until social distancing measures are lifted to the point where the new car market can come back online.

For now the FLA is advising those that have come under financial pressure as a result of the coronavirus to contact their lender immediately.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also proposed that all consumer credit agreements are paused for the next three months to help customers cope with increased financial pressures.

Adrian Dally, head of motor finance at the FLA, told AM: “It’s quiet at this point, understandably so.

"While the impact of the coronavirus is having a cooling effect on the industry, we need to remember that business will return in the coming months as self-isolation has created a situation of demand delayed, not demand foregone.

“Members are focusing their efforts on getting their customers through this difficult period.

"Call volumes are very high as you would expect, but staff have been diverted to deal with enquiries, and help is available for any customer in financial difficulties.”

Ford, VW, Mercedes-Benz

AM has looked into what the registration volume leaders are advising customers to do right now when it comes to their new car finance payments.

Volume leader Ford has introduced special measures for anyone struggling due to COVID-19.

These measures include a 30-day deferral on monthly payments or customers can talk directly with Ford Credit to discuss other deferral options.

A statement from Ford Credit said: “We routinely offer a number of tools to help vulnerable customers regardless of the situation.

“These include reduced payments, payment deferral or pre-arrears forbearance.

"Additionally, we have introduced further special measures to help anyone leasing or financing their car through Ford Credit to offset the potential economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.”

Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) said it is working with customers to agree affordable repayment plans or giving customers up to 60 days “breathing space” to consider their finances.

Breathing space means VWFS agrees not to contact or chase payments for at least 60 days and there will be no additional fees or additional late payment interest fees during that time.

A statement said: “After this period, we will work with you to agree a suitable and affordable plan to pay those amounts which you were unable to pay due to Coronavirus.

“Your monthly payment and the amount of interest you pay will not increase for the remaining term of your finance agreement. We consider that by using all of our available tools, this will help us to ensure a fairer overall outcome for our customers.”

For those that do fall into arrears, VWFS said it will be reporting that fact to credit reference agencies, but it is currently working with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on how the current situation may impact individuals and how businesses can best support them.

Mercedes-Benz has been the premium sector volume leader in the UK YTD so far, but its new car offer strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic shows a pull back from mass offers.

Mercedes’ website is only showing finance PCP offers on the A-Class and EQC premium electric car, while all other models are being supported with deposit offer discounts, with thousands of pounds off models such as the C-Class, E-Class, GLC and SLC, going as high as £5,250.



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