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Car buyers are looking to ‘shop local’, says heycar

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Car buyers across the UK are following the national trend of keeping their spending locals, according to insights identified by heycar.

The online automotive marketing portal has seen a 207% increase in leads resulting from people including 'near me' in their car searches; along with an 89% uplift in impressions – indicating a shift towards car shopping closer to home. 

Specific location queries are also surging, it said, prompting an 84% leads uplift as well as a 43% increase in impressions.

At the same time, interest in the car market in general is also on the increase with search terms including ‘car dealerships’, ‘used cars’ and ‘car buying’ on an upward curve and approaching pre-COVID levels of use.

Vik Barodia, heycar’s chief operating and product officer, said: “It comes as our selected dealers have told us how they are listening to their customers and adapting the way they operate.

“We’re seeing 91% of them offering virtual appointments, 89% offering a click and collect service and 83% will allow customers to enjoy unaccompanied test drives.

“Showroom visits by appointment are offered by 77%.”

Barodia said: “It’s clear that the nation’s shopping habits are changing and that dealerships in general are responding quickly with a host of innovations and initiatives to accommodate customers' new expectations and to keep everybody safe.”

Matt Moakes, chief executive at HeycarBack in April, AM published a ’10 minutes with…’ interview with heycar chief executive Matt Moakes.

Moakes said that the digital marketing business had been launched to drive “greater trust and transparency” in the sector.

He added: “Dealers are rooting for heycar to work. People are actively willing us on to make an impact.”

AM webinar: The AM Motor Retail Review (Monday July 6 at 2pm)

This 45-minute webinar will discuss the UK motor retail industry’s achievements in the first month of trading since lockdown ended for England’s car dealers, including:

· June’s new car registrations and used car opportunities.

· The lessons learned from social distanced trading.

· How dealers balance the return to trading and their need to limit their costs.

· Prospects for Q3 and critical steps for success.

Chaired by AM editor Tim Rose, his invited guests will include senior executives of AM100 dealers, suppliers and OEMs, who’ll share their own experiences since lockdown ended and outline some ways dealers can sustain their business recovery.

Rose said: “This is a crucial moment for UK motor retail. The new car registrations data from the first month since lockdown will tell us how strongly the industry is fighting back, and there’ll be feedback on how customers and staff are coping with new processes and PPE in showrooms.

“The lessons of the last few weeks must help motor retail prepare for Q3 and the looming plate-change campaign.”

Guest speakers signed up so far:

Tim Duckers, Cambria Automobiles

Duckers is the motor division managing director of AM100 motor retailer Cambria Automobiles, working alongside chief executive Mark Lavery to lead a portfolio of franchised dealerships from volume mainstream such as Vauxhall and premium brands such as Jaguar Land Rover to high luxury brands such as Bentley and Rolls Royce.

Steve Le Bas, BDO

Le Bas is the head of motor retail at accountants and business advisers BDO. He has some 20 years’ experience working with motor trade clients, including statutory audits, assisting their internal accounting functions and conducting due diligence assignments for prospective motor trade purchasers.

Dale Wyatt, Suzuki GB

As head of automobile at Suzuki GB, Wyatt is responsible for the brand health of Suzuki cars and splits his time between working with the UK management team, Suzuki’s dealer network and the parent company in Japan.

Ian Plummer, Auto Trader

Plummer, commercial director at Auto Trader, joined the car sales platform in 2017 after heading sales operations and franchise management at Volkswagen UK and before 15 years at Renault in roles at both the UK sales company and the head office in Paris.

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