Renewed COVID-19 lockdown fails to deter 58% of car buyers

A survey of in-market car buyers has found that 58% intend to go-ahead with their planned purchase within the next fortnight, despite the start of more stringent COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

Auto Trader surveyed over 1,000 new and used car buyers this week and 55% of respondents said that that government’s ‘Lockdown 2’ announcement had “no impact” on their decision, with 7% stating that it had made them want to purchase a car even quicker.

Just 14% said it had made them delay their purchase, Auto Trader said.

Signs of continued consumer demand back up assertions from Cap HPI to continue adjusting used car values during England’s second lockdown as retailers drive continued sales through click and collect and home delivery amid enforced showroom closures.

  • Over the next few days AM is urging car retailers to respond to a Quick-fire AM COVID-19 ‘Lockdown 2’ in England car retail survey to gain feedback on business’s response to the latest trading restrictions. Please take part by clicking here.

The research conducted by Auto Trader showed that over 50% of car buyers were willing to buy via click or collect and home delivery during the lockdown period, signalling a clear intention to not let the pandemic halt their plans.

Although Auto Trdaer seems confident that car sales activity will continue, it moved this week to axe its December advertising fees and extend its payment terms for November services by a month.

An Auto Trader spokesperson said: “This lockdown is different to last time and there’s a job to do to ensure all car buyers know this.

“Whilst they can’t go and visit dealers on their forecourts during lockdown, they can still buy a car from the comfort of their own home.

“Under the new restrictions, dealerships can still operate home delivery and click and collect, so people can absolutely go ahead with buying their next car during this period.

“Our new Buy Online hub makes it even easier for them to see what vehicles are available for home delivery and click and collect.”

Cap HPI paused its adjustments to used car values during the first lockdown, in April and part of May, citing a scarcity of sold data and a responsible approach to not affect automotive businesses’ “bottom line”.

However, this week Derren Martin, Cap HPI’s head of valuations, said: “We have understandably received a lot of queries about whether we will be moving values during the lockdown that has begun this week.

“Our decision to continue doing so reflects the activity we continue to see across the market.

“Despite the recent dip in used values we often see this time of year, cars and vans are still selling both in trade and retail even during a period of heightened economic uncertainty.

“Retail and wholesale businesses are also better established to sell online this time around and we don’t anticipate volumes to reduce significantly.

“We want to assure customers that we will continue to move used values responsibly, based on trade sales data and retail advert evidence.

“In the unlikely event that sold volumes decline significantly, we can review this decision at any time and take swift action to ensure vehicles are priced accurately and easily during this time.

“Let’s keep the industry open, in a safe environment.”

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