Press release

SMMT new car registrations | May 2020

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)

“With retailer forecourts across the UK shut for the duration of May it comes as little surprise that we were low on new car registrations for the month. Now that retailers in England have reopened (from Monday 1st June) there’s huge opportunity for the industry to help kick-start the country’s wider economy. The market was paused, not stopped. And now, it’s clearly re-starting.

“Even though consumers haven’t been able to visit showrooms over the past month, it hasn’t stopped them from browsing online to find their next car. Our audience is now back up to pre-COVID levels, averaging over 1.7 million cross platform visits every day (an increase of 5% year-on-year), which suggests there’s a lot of pent up demand. Encouragingly, consumer demand for brand new cars reached record levels on Auto Trader on the day showrooms in England reopened – a 158% increase vs pre-lockdown in terms of the number of leads consumers were sending to retailers. It reassuringly demonstrates strong consumer confidence to purchase a brand new car. To complement that, we’ve also seen a 56% increase in the number of new cars advertised on Auto Trader with over 50,000 new cars now advertised.

“Retailers have worked hard to show consumers that they are adhering to the new social distancing guidelines as well as the health and safety measures to instil confidence that if they turn up to a forecourt, it’s safe to do so. They have also developed their digital offering, allowing potential buyers to conduct a virtual walk round or even a video test drive of a car, and then to put down a deposit online and arrange safe home delivery of a vehicle.  One thing we’ve learned from this pandemic is that – as a society – there’s been an acceleration to buy online, and not just everyday products but bigger purchases like cars too, and the auto industry is now fully embracing this trend.” 

“The UK’s love of finance could also prove to be a market driver. With more than nine in 10 consumers buying their cars on PCP deals, there is a constant rotation of cars every three years or so.  Car buyers who were part of the record new car sales numbers seen three years ago will now need to come back into the market to make a new purchase. So with early demand signs looking positive, and the stock available, it points to an encouraging start to the month. 

“There remain question marks though about the sustainability of this demand over the mid-term. There are growing calls for government incentives to support the industry with research showing that benefits can be widespread. Government stands to recoup £3 for every £1 spent thanks to increased VAT and vehicle excise duties, as well as reduced employment-related costs in the industry. Consumers who not only want a car but need one, now probably more than ever, will be able to afford to switch to a cleaner model. And by focusing incentives on both EVs as well as the cleanest generations of petrol and diesel models, the environment will benefit from seeing these cars replace the oldest, more polluting models. France has already introduced a very ambitious plan which tackles these issues and aims to take the leadership on EV production and research; Germany is poised to do the same. The UK has similar ambitions and will now need to act fast to keep pace.”

Great to see DealerDesk utilising our API to enable retailers to instantly publish and update their Auto Trader adverts without the traditional wait for old-fashioned stock feeds! https://t.co/RyCrCG1fl0
August saw record levels of demand from consumers seeking out their next vehicle. But with supply issues continuing, what can you do to ensure your forecourt remains stocked to meet demand? Find out in our latest blog by @MarcThornboroug👇https://t.co/tUerFkP4Qf
Register for our next webinar where we’ll be exploring the latest in automotive logistics with special guest Thomas Mallet of Ecomotive Logistics. We’ll also be sharing our final step in addressing admin fees along with an update on the market 👉 https://t.co/GWNbgNrxVg https://t.co/SNIlt3nfcE
155,000 vehicles are underpriced on Auto Trader, meaning that there is a staggering amount of profit being missed out on by retailers. Find out more and what you can do to ensure you’re not leaving any profit on the table in this week’s tip of the week with @AndrewKorpela https://t.co/vj8Ux1Z2Jn
The popularity of electric vehicles continues to grow with the @Hyundai_UK IONIQ 5 being the most viewed new car on our platform over the last month. Will we see an electric vehicle top of the list next month and what needs to be done to sustain interest? Let us know👇 https://t.co/gNbRriDIiV
The @KiaUK Soul EV came out top among consumers looking for an EV that offers great value, taking the Best Value Electric Car at the Auto Trader New Car Awards 2021. https://t.co/LcVmx4kwKO
Demand for vans continues to increase with last month seeing the number of leads per new van on our marketplace grow a staggering 44% compared to August 2020, a new record. Overall van leads are also up by 30% vs 2020. https://t.co/6h2zt1D54r
On 22nd September we’ll complete our admin fees journey by adding the admin fee into the total advertised price and reflecting this in our valuations and price indicators. Find out more in our latest blog👇 https://t.co/ZVRpYhssAA
We're delighted to be supporting this year's @BenSupport4Auto Ben Ball taking place on the 8th Dec at the Roundhouse. There are now just a handful of tables left so be sure to book yours now to avoid missing out 👉https://t.co/6jC6ZaoEND https://t.co/zQCWD0JCRg
Our latest Monthly Market Intelligence report is now live. Check it out now to discover our latest new and used car market insights along a focus on EV pricing👉https://t.co/g8bPs1X6CE https://t.co/gB6Zh0p8rF

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