Press release

SMMT new car registrations | March 2020

Ian Plummer comments on the latest new car registrations from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Retailers (SMMT)

Ian Plummer, Commercial Director, Auto Trader:

“Clearly the current global pandemic is hitting everyone hard, especially the automotive industry, as retailers have been forced to temporarily close their doors. Therefore sales, which had started strongly prior to the lockdown, have been largely halted in a month which normally sees the greatest number of transactions in the year. However, our market observations do offer a more reassuring picture for the future, as people are still actively looking for their next car.

 "On our marketplace we’re still seeing over 1 million visits every day. This coupled with our latest consumer research which shows that of those surveyed, 58% said they’re still in the market for a new or used car, albeit they are currently delaying their purchase, and 14% would still want to buy now. What’s more, last week we saw the average number of saved vehicle searches by consumers increase +8% year-on-year. And so whilst they may not be able to visit a physical forecourt, consumers are clearly visiting digital showrooms in anticipation for when they can. It’s for that reason we’re confident that when the current restrictions have been lifted the market will bounce back relatively quickly, similar to what’s currently being observed in China.

 “To ensure they’re in the very best possible position when life returns to ‘normality’, it’s more important than ever retailers are highly visible online and capturing this consumer demand.”

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