Press release

Q4 / 2020 used car transactions | February 2021

Auto Trader’s Chief Executive Officer, Nathan Coe, responds to the latest used car transactions results

Nathan Coe, Auto Trader Chief Executive Officer:

The figures reveal the extent of the impact the lockdowns and restrictions imposed across the UK last year had on the used car market. However, they also highlight the resilience of the market, with very strong levels of consumer demand when forecourts were able to open. Whilst the decline was keenly felt last year, it’s reassuring to hear that many of our retailer partners were operating at 60 – 70% of normal trading volumes during January. This is more than we anticipated and testament to the speed at which retailers have adapted to digital retailing, as well as their sheer determination and hard work. After 10 months, it’s clear that many won’t return to their traditional retailing model; even after restrictions are lifted. The most successful retailers will be those that continue to embrace digital and offer a blended online and offline experience.

Our research points to the positive shift towards car ownership strengthening, with 49% of consumers now stating that owning a car is more important to them now than it was before the pandemic. We’re also seeing consumers' confidence in being able to afford their next car surpassing pre-COVID levels. The better than expected performance we’ve seen in January, along with these strong consumer metrics gives us confidence the market will be in a good position once forecourts reopen, and we expect a more positive outlook for 2021 overall.”

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