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Used buyers want “peace of mind” during difficult economic environment, says RAC

Sean Kent, Assurant

With economic uncertainty expected to continue into 2020, dealers are being advised to adapt to changing used car buyer attitudes in order to stay ahead.

While used car sales remain pretty consistent in terms of overall numbers, it can hide fundamental shifts in customer attitude.

“When we enter a period of low growth, the priorities of a large proportion of car buyers can adjust,” said Sean Kent, RAC director of sales at Assurant (pictured).

“At the core of this change is the role of the car as reliable daily transport. Potential buyers who feel that the cost of living is likely to rise need to feel that the purchase they are making is sensible. They want to minimise the chances of unexpected expenditure,” he added.

Dealers need to ensure that their propositions are tackling these concerns head-on. Consumers should feel confident about the vehicle they are considering buying and the package that has been constructed around it.

Recent internal research undertaken by the RAC Dealer Network found that more than seven out of 10 dealers (71%) view motor warranties as the most important part of the used car proposition.

“This indicates that dealers strongly continue to see the warranty as core to their overall proposition for used car buyers. There is an argument that, in tougher economic times, it is probably more important than ever.

“The reasons for this are simple and convincing. The warranty provides protection when the customer drives out of the showroom. It creates a high degree of peace of mind when it comes to a car which, for most people, is both among the most expensive purchases they will make and the transport on which they rely to get to work and generally live their lives,” said Kent.

The RAC has seen the standard warranty offered across its network has increased from three months to six in the past 12 months.

Kent explained: “Doing this is a relatively inexpensive and effective move for dealers – a matter of a few pounds per car. However, it is not just about added protection but making a vote in the quality of the vehicle. It communicates a valuable message to the customer and one that has a high degree of resonance at this point in time.”

The RAC Dealer Network has grown substantially over the last few years with more than 1,400 members accessing its products, support, marketing, training and technology.

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