As the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals that new car registration figures dropped in June by a third year-on-year, and in this time Carwow offers much-needed hope for the auto industry. New car quotes and inquiries continue to match, if not exceed, the volumes Carwow was reporting pre-coronavirus crisis in 2020.
CEO of Carwow, James Hind, said: “Since dealerships opened on 1st June, we have seen a sustained increase in quotes and inquiries, translating into sales, demonstrating that buyers are coming to market with an intent to buy. Indeed, June saw some of our busiest days for sales this year, with some reaching higher than those recorded before Covid-19 pandemic had hit most UK market.
“Although we’ve not relived the spike in inquiries we witnessed in the first week of June – the highest level in 2020 to date and representative of the pent up demand – the stability of the general upward trend in inquiries suggests that appetite to buy is very real, as our sales figures reveal.”
A lockdown poll carried out by Carwow showed that 75% of consumers won’t feel safe on buses and trains until a vaccine is discovered. This shows that people’s preference for the foreseeable future is to utilize their own personal modes of transport. This could be strengthening interest from buyers either looking to upgrade their current vehicle or invest in a new car for the first time, a hypothesis supported by data that revealed that the highest level of inquiries in the week after the English dealerships opening came from London.
Hind further said: “It’s clear that consumer confidence is buoyed by the easing of lockdown, and those dealers that were quick to adapt both physically and digitally during that time have been well placed to make the most of this. The longer-term picture is impossible to predict as the UK works its way to creating a new normal, and we believe government support is important to keep the automotive industry on the right trajectory.”
Before the coronavirus crisis, Carwow demonstrated that consumer interest in battery electric vehicles (BEVs) was increasing exponentially year-on-year – February saw a 243% year-on-year boost in BEV enquiries. However, Carwow configurations for alternative fuelled vehicles (AFVs) had decreased since the UK went into lockdown, something Carwow observed in the German market as well.
With the ease of lockdown, traffic to Carwow’s German business bounced back but electric car interest was slow to return. Government intervention and an increase in the subsidy on 4th June resulted in an overnight improvement in Germany, with inquiries for electric cars almost got back to pre-lockdown levels and AFVs in general, now comprising of 49% of all configurations.
Hind concluded: “Whilst scrappage seems to have been ruled out, there have been whispers of a VAT cut, and we would expect a move like that to have a powerful, positive impact. That said, it’s heartening to see the short-term landscape is much brighter than expected and we are working closely with our dealer community to support them in maximizing opportunities.”