Nine-out-of-10 in-market car buyers are comfortable visiting retailers when researching or buying their next car, despite COVID-19 causing more local restrictions and lockdowns.
A study of 8,177 in-market buyers as part of weekly industry research published by What Car? found that 89.05% said they were comfortable visiting retailers despite COVID-19.
The same research found 91.03% trusted car dealerships to be run in a COVID-safe way.
The findings come as Wales announced a temporary ‘firebreak’ lockdown between October 23 and November 9, requiring all retailers to shut their doors for the two-week period.
A verdict on 'click and collect' sales during the period is currently being sought by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA).
What Car? said that the public’s trust in the car retail sector’s ability to run safe showroom environments has been “built upon months of preparation and logistical work”.
“When showrooms were allowed to reopen after nearly three months of closures, they did so with tough new social distancing and personal hygiene measures in place,” it said.
“From protecting staff and customers with plastic dividers and installing hand sanitising stations to applying strict cleaning regimes and introducing one-way systems, the latest measures have played a key part in helping the industry recover from the pandemic.”
What Car?’s research also found just 10.42% of drivers have fallen behind their vehicle servicing and maintenance schedule due to COVID-19, showing buyers have been comfortable visiting retailers throughout the pandemic.
Asked when they are looking to purchase their next vehicle, a fifth of new car buyers polled said they intended to purchase in the next four weeks, while 18.27% are looking to purchase in the next three months, further suggesting the recent introduction of restrictions has yet to impact buyer intentions.
Rachael Prasher, the managing director of Haymarket Automotive, said: “Our latest research shows buyers remain confident and comfortable visiting dealers.
“This is important as the research also found 75.10% of buyers see their local dealership as an important part of the local economy and community.
“If restrictions and lockdowns continue to increase, 46.68% of respondents also told us they are concerned about their local dealer closing due to a lack of income.
“For those retailers in Wales facing a two-week lockdown, we’ve already decided to waive our New Car Buying platform fees during the period they are required to keep their doors closed.
“This will hopefully help them continue to operate through the difficult weeks ahead.”