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)
“Traditionally August is the quietest month for new car sales. While, on the surface, negative percentages can be concerning, in the context of such a small month this drop in new car registrations is only very marginal in terms of actual sales volume. A number of our retail and brand partners had already reached their targets mid-way through the month with good levels of natural ordertake and so there was little inclination or need to push sales activity.
“What seems far more significant is the outlook for September and beyond, which remains positive as the industry continues its recovery from lockdown. Auto Trader had a record 67.1 million cross platform visits in August, a 30.5% increase on last year. Record audience figures coupled with the highest ever number of consumer leads sent to retailers in the third week of August, up 52% compared with the same week in February, points to a lot of consumer appetite for new cars. The only key concern we can see would be whether supply can match demand as manufacturers still aren’t back at their normal levels of production. But September new car order books at retailers are filling up as consumers take advantage of some of the great deals and attractive finance rates on offer. This signals a promising September – the 70s plate change – which will be the true measure of the health of the new car market.”