Affordable used cars are flying out of showrooms because of coronavirus fears, says Imperial Cars

Time 1 year ago

New data from Imperial Cars shows that people are buying more affordable used vehicles than they did last year – with sales for the supermarket up by 95 per cent in June.

Purchases of sub-£5,000 vehicles have gone up by more than a third – 36 per cent – on average in 2020 so far compared with the same time last year.

And in June, sales of cars costing under £5,000 rocketed by 95 per cent against June 2019.


In April, sales of sub-£5,000 cars made up 31 per cent of Imperial Cars’ total deals – the first time that particular price bracket has led its sales chart.

Imperial Cars attributed the massive rise in the popularity of affordable cars to people turning their back on public transport and buying an inexpensive used car instead for their own ‘transport bubble’.

From March to the end of June, Imperial Cars sold more than 80 cars, even though it was in lockdown for most of the time. Traffic to its website rocketed by 80 per cent as well.

During the pandemic, Imperial Cars, which has 17 showrooms and 13 service centres nationwide, launched services such as a finance offer that delayed monthly payments by up to three months. It also used a safe contactless system to deliver cars for test drives, as well as vehicles that had been bought.

Neil Smith, operations director at Imperial Cars, said: ‘This growth in the sub-£5,000 category would usually be very surprising, but with many people concerned about using public transport or who are wishing to downsize to a more affordable car because of coronavirus or features of an economic downturn, it’s an understandable switch in the market.

‘The increase in sales of this price bracket reflects the traffic numbers we have been experiencing on our website. Customers are very keen to buy affordable cars in the present climate, but, as shown by an increase in our sales, customers are still savvy – they want quality cars on reasonable payment terms.’

He added: ‘The big question now is, how long will this trend for affordable cars continue? Whatever the answer, it’s important not to get distracted on market trends and ensure we have the right products for the right customers at the right time.’

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John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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