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Test drive surge suggests car buyers will ‘wait for what they want’

A set of car keys being handed over

A 127% surge in vehicle test drives during January suggests that demand remains buoyant and car buyers are “willing to wait for what they want”, according to iTrackLEADS.

Data gathered by the lead management system provider, which offers a cloud-based platform helps users aggregate all website enquiries and distribute them to sales teams, has seen the rise in customers getting behind the wheel alongside a 30% increase in enquires last month.

Sales also grew by 12% in the first month of 2022, according to the data, revealed after the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) published news of a 27.5% year-on-year rise in registrations during the period.

Despite the SMMT’s assertion iTrackLEADS’s data – gathered from 300 car retailers – also suggested that ongoing new vehicle shortages led to a 27% fall in handovers last month.

Last week insight from Cox Automotive suggested that used car buyers will have to “get used to a significantly older profile of vehicle” as supply shortages look set to continue into 2023.

Adrian Favill, director of iTrackLEADS, said: “Dealers are managing to navigate the current challenges with new vehicle supply and a shortage of used stock to increase overall sales on last year.

“It’s clear that buyers understand the current delays and are prepared to wait for the car they want.”

iTrackLEADS said that car dealers were managing their supply shortage challenges well, with only a 0.2% increase in lost sales, despite the many headwinds the industry is facing.

The advice to car dealers from iTrackLEADS is for retailers to ensure they deliver a speedy and professional response to customer enquiries.

Its data shows an industry average of 50 minutes to respond to an enquiry, while the quickest operator has an average response time of one minute and nine seconds.

The fastest response times saw 10% of enquiries converted to test drives and 84% of test drives turning into sales.

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