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Orders for new and used vehicles declined in February

James Hill, managing director of Dealerweb

Orders placed for new vehicles fell by 18.3% in February and used dropped by 30% according to the latest figures from lead management firm, Dealerweb.

February also saw new car enquiries fall by 25.5% and used decline by 20.9% year-on-year, however, Dealerweb claimed that the data indicated a stronger conversation rate on new enquiries.

The COVID-19 lockdown restrictions impacted car sales in January, with a 36% decline in orders for new cars and 45% drop in used.

Average selling prices remained strong in February, with new increasing by 14.8% to £32,945 and used by 9.8% to £20,823.

Car retailers returned to auctions in February after January experienced “price sensitive” trading as they stocked forecourts with sub-£12,000 price vehicles, according to Aston Barclay.

The SMMT revised its 2021 new car registrations forecast down to below 1.9 million in anticipation of COVID-19 lockdown's impact on the key March numberplate change month. 

James Hill, managing director of Dealerweb, said: “Dealers are working hard to keep the industry moving through a difficult lockdown period. We are hopeful that there will be a strong bounce back in both new and used orders as lockdown ends, a pattern that was established last year.

“Dealerweb has invested in building tools that will help dealers operate efficiently through lockdown, and it’s vital that sales teams stay on top of the data to ensure a great experience for every buyer.”

Cox Automotive’s Phillip Nothard has said it is “vital” that car showrooms are able to re-open as soon as possible despite signs that many retailers continue to perform well against the odds in COVID-19 ‘Lockdown 3’.

Research by Dealerweb shows that 94% of consumers believe that the speed of an response to an enquiry will affect their likelihood to buy a car.

Dealerweb said it is has enhanced its React platform to help dealers provide an 'immediate' response to every enquiry and has launched a suite of tools ranging from diary management to e-signatures.

In December 2020, dealers across the UK saw orders for new vehicles rise by 9.5%, against the same month in 2019, data from Dealerweb found. 

CitNOW acquired the showroom software firm Dealerweb in 2020, in a deal which the the video software experts believes will leverage innovation and help motor retailers provide "an outstanding customer experience". 

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