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.”

With forecourts in England and Wales set to open next week, our Data & Insight Director @therickw shares our latest audience insights revealing how we are seeing buyer behaviour change as lockdown measures ease. https://t.co/yIMnXbLtn0
Performance Rating helps you quickly understand how well your adverts are performing vs competing adverts and know whether your adverts are winning buyers’ attention. Plus we’ve improved how you can track performance improvements over time. https://t.co/4IhSUpEV81
Following 4 months of price growth slowing, due to the record levels of demand in the market, last month not only saw the 12th consecutive month of price growth but also the first monthly increase in the rate of growth since October 2020. https://t.co/aQQ27H6QOl
A reminder from @stuart_trader to login to Portal to let us know if you offer admin fees. 92% of retailers already have. https://t.co/TkUEpnyx5p
When we look at vehicle pricing by age bands we can see strong growth for all vehicles, with those vehicles in the 5-10 year old and 10-15 year old age bands seeing the strongest like-for-like price growth. https://t.co/0PvxqEjLvZ
Our Data & Insight Director @therickw returns for his ever popular audience update, revealing that visits to our marketplace are up by 89.4% compared to the same period in 2020 and up by 27.5% when compared to the same period in 2019. #RichWalkerfanclub https://t.co/NR8mywkxCE
Just 15 minutes until today's webinar. You can still register to watch live or stay tuned right here for the highlights > https://t.co/Foqq4rVl2N https://t.co/my9knVy7eL
For the first time since August, new car registration numbers grow with the @SMMT reporting a welcome year-on-year growth in registrations of 11.5% in March. https://t.co/WAPeT02wou
As forecourts reopen, we look at reasons to be optimistic for April and share some practical advice for retailers looking to keep up with the industry as it moves forward beyond the pandemic. https://t.co/BwGEsCm9Kj
Register for next week's webinar where @Lusky91 of Luscombe's Leeds will reveal how they have advanced their digital retailing during lockdown and how they’re going to use these learnings to make more efficient sales in future > https://t.co/Foqq4rVl2N https://t.co/7opxnTlSdV

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