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New car orders declined by over a third in January's COVID-19 lockdown

James Hill, managing director of Dealerweb

The latest COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have impacted car sales with a 36% decline in orders for new cars and 45% drop in used, according to lead management specialist Dealerweb.

Enquiries also fell against the same month last year with new enquiries down 29% and used by 34%. However, used car sale values increased by 14% to £20,839.

James Hill, managing director of Dealerweb, said: “The UK’s dealers have shown fantastic resilience since the first lockdown in March 2020.

"The focus on delivering excellent service and maximising the value of every enquiry has helped to support some relatively robust numbers throughout 2020.

"It seems that the combination of a third and strict lockdown in January, alongside some terrible weather, has hit consumer demand.

“In a challenging market, it is vital to follow up each enquiry in an efficient way and to ensure that the whole team can access sales data in real-time to inform commercial decisions.

"We find that data adds value to every business, but it has a multiplier effect when it is used across the business to drive growth.”

According to data published by Cap HPI, trade values declined by an average of 1.4% (£150) at the three-year point last month as the volume of cars sold through trade channels were around 60% of the levels seen in January last year.

But Auto Trader reported earlier this week that January had brought a 10th consecutive month of price rises among the cars advertised on its platform.

It also reported an increase in consumer interest, suggesting that retailers could once again benefit from pent-up demand when COVID-19 restrictions are eased once again.

Dealerweb’s cloud-based enquiry management systems support retailers with their sales processes.

It has grown to become an ecosystem of tools that can manage the process from first enquiry to building and closing a deal.

Its services also automate web-leads' collation from all sources and offer the option to respond via a fully-formatted bespoke HTML email template or with a direct call to the customer.

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