Buyacar.co.uk has seen an upswing in new car searches following the Brexit result.
The company said the increase in searches and purchase quotations suggests some consumers may be rushing to make car purchases now before a weakening pound further erodes their savings.
The company said visits hit record levels in the days after the June 23 EU referendum, with a surprise leap of interest in new cars.
For the first time this year there were more quotations saved for new car purchases than for used models on the site.
The company is also reporting a wave of cash purchases for both new and used cars – supporting the suggestion that consumers may prefer to spend savings now, partly prompted by widely predicted increases for new car prices in the wake of Brexit.
For used cars the company has also seen a higher conversion ratio between saved purchase quotations and actual sales for each car searched on the site since the referendum.
Austin Collins, co-founder and managing director of buyacar.co.uk, is cautious in his interpretation of the trend.
He said: “Since the referendum result we have seen several changes in consumer behaviour on our site. One is an increase in new car interest that we were not expecting at this point in the year, while another is a higher proportion of used car searches converted into a sale.
“We’ve also seen a higher proportion of cash purchases in the three weeks following June 23 than during the two or three months before the referendum. We believe headlines about the immediate economic impact of the Brexit vote, particularly the weakening value of sterling, are key to some of this increased sales activity.”
Collins said that due to consumers being told things will become more expensive, including the price of new cars combined with potential interest rate reductions, some believe it makes sense to buy now.
He said: “Citizens of European countries living in the UK are likely to feel very cautious about entering three or four-year finance agreements at present because they don’t know what their future holds. That could account for some of the increase in cash transactions.
“It’s too early to know whether traditional dealers are sharing our experience of the post-Brexit market but we believe consumers may be deciding to beat further weakening of their spending power by buying now instead of waiting for more potentially bad economic news.”