Current sales boom for new and used cars is not being driven by pent-up demand, says Vertu Motors boss

Time 7:48 am, September 21, 2020

Vertu Motors boss Robert Forrester does not believe the current sales boom for new and used cars is being driven by pent-up demand any more.

In an exclusive video interview with Car Dealer – which you can watch in full above – the Vertu chief executive said he thinks the fact many people have simply saved money during lockdown is driving car sales.

He said: ‘In service it’s pent up demand, without a doubt. You can use the word service and pent up demand.

‘In sales it is not pent up demand. 

‘It’s just not what is happening. We all sat at home. We all saved money. People have saved a lot of money. 

‘I think we’ve ended up in a bit of a sweet spot from a demand perspective, and it isn’t pent up demand at all.’

Forrester doesn’t think the demand will last ‘forever’, but he is predicting Christmas could be a boom time for his dealers as customers splash out on new vehicles as presents.

He said: ‘I was musing the other day about Christmas and who knows where we’re going to be by Christmas, it depends on the death rate, but what can people buy for Christmas?

‘I’ve just got this view that our Land Rover and Mercedes businesses are going to be very busy and maybe our other franchises too, because you can’t go on holiday that’s for sure. 

‘And I can see quite good demand for Christmas presents.’

Forrester said that the public’s avoidance of public transport had also helped drive sales and that car dealers are definitely currently experiencing a ‘high period’ of sales.

He added: ‘I can’t see it carrying on forever. 

‘My view is you have highs and lows in life, and we’ve had a high so shortly will come a low or at least a more moderate period.’

Vertu Motors is currently in a closed period before a further update is given to the Stock Market in October.

But on the September new car market, Forrester did say he thinks sales of new cars will be up.

He added: ‘It all depends, in terms of the headline SMMT numbers, on the close at the end of September. 

‘I suspect there will be less pre-registrations in the last three days than last year. Supply in certain manufacturers is far more constrained than it has been. 

‘There are some manufacturers who have good supply but there are a number that have got weak supply.’

Forrester said he thinks this will help boost the fourth quarter and that he is getting ‘more optimistic’ about that period all the time.

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‘Having been a harbinger of doom for months I now think Q4 might be alright actually,’ he added. 

‘It’s always hard work but I’m becoming less concerned.’

You can watch the full interview at the top of this page

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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