Four weeks on from dealer re-opening in England – what have we learned?
With the vast majority, if not all dealers across the UK now open, the evidence suggests strongly that dealers in England, which could open from June 1st have benefited from what has widely been reported as a buoyant used car market. At Mann Island, this positive bounce-back has undoubtedly been evident.
During the first month of re-opening in England, Mann Island saw record proposal volumes, had a record week for payouts and on June 18th a record payout level for a single day. One swallow does not make it summer, but given that this reflected activity from England alone, the return to business was very positive. We are very much open for business!
Reflecting customer activity; the £7K -£15K price bracket has been particularly buoyant, but even premium brands saw strong customer demand. In turn, this sparked a busy time for dealers seeking to gain fresh stock; inevitably the remarketing sector reported that this saw a rise in prices.
The desire demonstrated by consumers to buy a used car is being attributed to a range of factors; end of finance agreements and normal trading up/down, but notably from people moving away from public transport and car-sharing.
The feedback from dealers is that social distancing has worked well. Many have moved to visits by appointment only, with click & collect and delivery services being widely available to minimise showroom visits. For people who do want to see the car for themselves, a range of social-distancing and PPE measures are being offered to reassure staff and customers. Similarly, special measures for test drives have been offered by most dealers.
One point worth noting is that while the bounce-back has been encouraging, the lock-down is sure to see lasting change in used car buying and financing. Distance-selling, click and collect and digital car buying and financing are not going to go away. Through the lock-down, people have got very comfortable with ordering items online. All the evidence points to the fact that this trend, even if it is diluted a little, will remain. The dealer community will need to adapt to this change.
Another thing that won’t change is that the Mann Island team will be ensuring that personal services will be prominent to help dealers and customers to provide affordable and transparent finance, tailored to each car buyer’s circumstances. COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of personal service and care.