Ian Plummer shares his view on the latest new car registration data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)
“Whilst last month’s new car performance largely followed the trajectory set in January, we’re seeing plenty of other metrics point to an increasingly healthy market, not least the growth in footfall and enquiry levels reported by many of our retailer partners. We saw a similar trend on our own platforms. Not only did the number of visits increase 9% year-on-year in February, but we also recorded a 10% growth in ad views compared to this time last year.
“This renewed consumer confidence is having a positive influence on new car orders. Coupled with an anticipated strong consumer appetite for the first 20 number plate of the decade, we’re expecting March to perform at a similarly solid rate as 2019. Given the far greater relative size of the March plate-change month, that should allow retailers and brands alike to conclude the all-important first quarter of the year in a reasonably healthy position.
“However, with the presence of a variety of new and existing challenges posing a threat to the positive, but fragile, consumer sentiment, the industry can ill afford to be complacent. We may have left the European Union, but with negative headlines persisting, Brexit continues to cast a long shadow of uncertainty. What’s more, the feared slash in plug-in car grants in the forthcoming Budget will put at risk one of the few lifelines the industry has, potentially curbing the vital take-up of electric vehicles. If we add to the mix the threat of Covid-19 deterring people from visiting dealerships, as it has done in other markets, we’re clearly not out of the woods yet.”
To view the results, please visit http://bit.ly/2vGvkxI