Press release

SMMT new car registrations | October 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)

Ian Plummer, director at Auto Trader commented on the SMMT’s new car registration figures in October: 

“Our data shows sustained consumer appetite with audience numbers remaining high at over 62 million, up 25% on last year, and the number of brand new car and van leads sent to retailers up 150% compared with October 2019. New car registrations are a reflection of a strong natural retail demand, which has meant retailers haven’t been doing the same month-end forced activity, including tactics like self-registering cars. All anecdotal feedback from retailers and manufacturers suggests that just a week ago they were tracking as much as 20% higher than last year, so although October’s overall registrations were flat, they were driven by organic consumer demand.

“Data shows that it is fleet sales which are causing the dip in numbers in October and that’s not surprising. Many companies haven’t updated their business fleets because the shift in working habits for much of 2020 has meant they don’t need to. The new car market is also still feeling the effect of production line closures earlier in the year, straining the availability of brand new car stock to meet strong consumer demand. 

“The motor industry is a multibillion pound market with a sizeable impact on the UK’s economy, and while it’s good news that the government is keeping manufacturing open during the second lockdown, retailers’ showrooms won’t be able to remain open to sell the cars produced. With consumer demand still at record levels, many retailers have been strengthening their online forecourts so that car buyers can buy online using home delivery or click and collect options, which 50% of consumers have said they’re willing to do in a survey we conducted this week. This is especially vital when over a third of consumers are looking to buy in the next two weeks, given retailers in England and Wales have had to close their showrooms in line with the latest lockdown restrictions.”

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