Car dealerships reopening on June 1 is critical to the successful restart of the car market, according to the latest research.
Car dealers are beginning to prepare for reopening amid uncertainty as to whether they will or will not be allowed to join the first wave of non-essential retail to reopen at the start of next month.
As we reported yesterday, It is still not crystal clear as to whether dealers will be included in that first phase – but the motor trade is assuming that’s the case.
What Car? Magazine’s latest survey of 4,000 consumers has identified just how critical dealers reopening is to sales with 68 per cent of respondents to its latest survey saying they want to complete their purchase in a dealership following social distancing.
Currently car dealers can offer click and collect sales after remote purchases conducted online, but that could all change on June 1.
This new trend of buying online is likely to continue, though, suggests the What Car? with 65 per cent of those surveyed saying they would be more inclined to complete at least part of their car purchase online compared to before the lockdown.
Rachael Prasher, managing director of Haymarket Automotive – the publisher of What Car? – said traffic to its websites has jumped.
She said: ‘Nobody reading this will need reminding that the automotive economy plays a hugely significant role in the wider economy.
‘The major trigger to restart the automotive economy is yet to be pulled: the reopening of dealerships as places of business.
percentage of buyers who’ll be more inclined to shop for cars online in future
‘Never before has the June 1 date been so important to UK PLC. And despite the transition to remote working and increased comfort in online buying, we should not underestimate the importance of the physical showroom in kick-starting sales.’
She added that What Car? has witnessed first hand the triggers that engage car buyers.
When it was confirmed car dealers could deliver cars following social distancing guidelines, traffic jumped 24 per cent week on week.
And then when talks with the government about reopening dealers were revealed, visitors to the company’s New Car Buying service rose by 59 per cent.
Prasher added: ‘Last week’s confirmation that click and collect was permitted triggered another nine per cent rise across the site.’
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