Press release

SMMT new car registrations | May 2020

Auto Trader's Commercial Director, Ian Plummer, provides his view on the latest new car registrations from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)

“With retailer forecourts across the UK shut for the duration of May it comes as little surprise that we were low on new car registrations for the month. Now that retailers in England have reopened (from Monday 1st June) there’s huge opportunity for the industry to help kick-start the country’s wider economy. The market was paused, not stopped. And now, it’s clearly re-starting.

“Even though consumers haven’t been able to visit showrooms over the past month, it hasn’t stopped them from browsing online to find their next car. Our audience is now back up to pre-COVID levels, averaging over 1.7 million cross platform visits every day (an increase of 5% year-on-year), which suggests there’s a lot of pent up demand. Encouragingly, consumer demand for brand new cars reached record levels on Auto Trader on the day showrooms in England reopened – a 158% increase vs pre-lockdown in terms of the number of leads consumers were sending to retailers. It reassuringly demonstrates strong consumer confidence to purchase a brand new car. To complement that, we’ve also seen a 56% increase in the number of new cars advertised on Auto Trader with over 50,000 new cars now advertised.

“Retailers have worked hard to show consumers that they are adhering to the new social distancing guidelines as well as the health and safety measures to instil confidence that if they turn up to a forecourt, it’s safe to do so. They have also developed their digital offering, allowing potential buyers to conduct a virtual walk round or even a video test drive of a car, and then to put down a deposit online and arrange safe home delivery of a vehicle.  One thing we’ve learned from this pandemic is that – as a society – there’s been an acceleration to buy online, and not just everyday products but bigger purchases like cars too, and the auto industry is now fully embracing this trend.” 

“The UK’s love of finance could also prove to be a market driver. With more than nine in 10 consumers buying their cars on PCP deals, there is a constant rotation of cars every three years or so.  Car buyers who were part of the record new car sales numbers seen three years ago will now need to come back into the market to make a new purchase. So with early demand signs looking positive, and the stock available, it points to an encouraging start to the month. 

“There remain question marks though about the sustainability of this demand over the mid-term. There are growing calls for government incentives to support the industry with research showing that benefits can be widespread. Government stands to recoup £3 for every £1 spent thanks to increased VAT and vehicle excise duties, as well as reduced employment-related costs in the industry. Consumers who not only want a car but need one, now probably more than ever, will be able to afford to switch to a cleaner model. And by focusing incentives on both EVs as well as the cleanest generations of petrol and diesel models, the environment will benefit from seeing these cars replace the oldest, more polluting models. France has already introduced a very ambitious plan which tackles these issues and aims to take the leadership on EV production and research; Germany is poised to do the same. The UK has similar ambitions and will now need to act fast to keep pace.”

It would seem Gen-Z'ers are now flocking to driving as COVID-19 restrictions get stricter. Find out more including insights from @REDDriving https://t.co/phgW2Ese7g #atinsightoftheday #GenZ https://t.co/P6chl5PmcB
Right now our panel of judges are busy reviewing the self-nomination award entries for this year’s Auto Trader Retailer Awards. Who will they decide are this year’s winners? Find out by registering to join the awards live on the 23rd October at 1pm > https://t.co/ZdjzevlJd3 https://t.co/rpobMrn4yf
In this week’s webinar Nathan Coe & @MarshallMotorGp will be discussing: -September's performance -How the job retention scheme might impact the #automotiveindustry -How #cardealers can finish the year strong & reach their year end objectives Register at https://t.co/yfbWqH66RA https://t.co/8rHpHIsSEG
Next week will see the launch of Retailer Performance Masterclasses (RPM) our all new online masterclass hub. Find out all you need to know in our latest blog post from @chrispenny222 > https://t.co/UUmrTQzbKa #RPM #autotrader #masterclass #insights #bestpractices #cardealers https://t.co/CzREOLoLbW
Our latest audience figures show no signs that last week’s Government announcement has impacted buyer demand with over 2 million visits to our site and 20 million minutes being spent on site by buyers looking for their next vehicle each day last week. #atinsightoftheday https://t.co/h0uTNtWuet
We've got something very exciting launching soon... Wednesday 7th October, save the date 👀 #RPM https://t.co/op0RVqngLN
The @KiaUK Sorento is currently the UK’s fastest selling car, taking an average of just 24 days to turn on UK forecourts according to our Fastest Selling Index. #atinsightoftheday #kia #mazda #peugeot #mercedes-benz https://t.co/0amym8KyIK
Join us on Thursday at 10am for our next #webinar to hear our latest #automotiveindustry updates and #insights and to hear from our CEO, Nathan Coe and @MarshallMotorGp Register now >https://t.co/knn3yUlJ3l https://t.co/HaxCu2EFss
Nathan Coe, our CEO, shared an update with our customers today reassuring them that Boris' announcement earlier this week has had no negative impact on consumer demand. Read Nathan's full thoughts on our latest blog post: https://t.co/sx37kiEHBY
Used car prices continue to climb with last week seeing overall used car prices increase by 7.7%, up from 7.4% the week before and the 20th week of consecutive price growth. #atinsightoftheday #usedcar #Pricing #Petrol #diesel #ElectricCars https://t.co/dmR56DmzNf

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