Press release

SMMT Q1 used car transactions | May 2020

Ian Plummer, Auto Trader Commercial Director, comments on the quarter one used car sales data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT):

 

“There’s no denying that the first quarter of 2020 has been a turbulent one – more so than the used car industry has felt before. The start of the quarter was looking positive, as consumer confidence had started to pick up after last year’s BREXIT uncertainties. January had started well and as a traditionally large month for used car sales boded well for the remainder of the quarter. Despite lockdown, as a result of the global pandemic, only impacting 9 days of sales, that was enough to dent the number for the overall quarter.

“Encouragingly although figures for traditional combustion engines are down, transactions of used plug-in vehicles are actually up compared with a year ago. This is good news; uptake of greener vehicles is on the rise and shows that more people are adopting more environmentally friendly cars, a trend that we could see accelerate further as we emerge from lockdown.

“Although the majority of retailers’ businesses have been halted by the UK lockdown, our research indicates that the market is paused, not stopped, as many consumers are eager to buy their next car when they can. Research we conducted recently revealed that 84% weren’t expecting affordability issues, and only 2% said that they’ve been put off buying a car altogether. There are likely to be new areas of market opportunity too as more than half of commuters previously using public transport, and who have a driving licence, expect to buy a car for their commute post lockdown as they seek safety in their own personal space. Therefore, it’s is essential that retailers are poised to reopen their doors, with enhanced health and safety measures yes, but also with the right stock at the right price. Crucially, this does not mean slashing prices; maintaining prices in line with market valuations will help the used car industry recover together as one.

“Moving forward, retailers will need 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. Even more key will be to have a sophisticated digital offering, allowing potential buyers to conduct a virtual walk round / test drive of a car, put down a deposit online and arrange safe home delivery of a vehicle. We’ve developed the tools to allow retailers to surface these offering on their adverts, and they’ll go live as showroom are allowed to reopen.”

About Auto Trader

Auto Trader Group plc is the UK and Ireland's largest digital automotive marketplace. Auto Trader sits at the heart of the UK's vehicle buying process and its primary activity is to help vehicle retailers compete effectively on the marketplace in order to sell more vehicles, faster. Auto Trader listed on the London Stock Exchange in March 2015 and is now a member of the FTSE 100 Index.

The marketplace brings together the largest and most engaged consumer audience. Auto Trader has over 90% prompted brand awareness and attracts circa 50 million monthly cross platform visits each month, with over 70% of visits coming through mobile devices.

The marketplace also has the largest pool of vehicle sellers (listing around 450,000 cars each day). Around 80% of UK automotive retailers advertise on autotrader.co.uk.

For more information, please visit https://plc.autotrader.co.uk  

For all media enquiries, please contact:

Laura Harvey or Andrew Nankervis | laura.harvey@autotrader.co.uk or Andrew.Nankervis@autotrader.co.uk

Auto Trader Highly Rated Awards are back for 2021. Read our latest blog to find out what you need to do to be Highly Rated this year.https://t.co/VAV3GC4u9E
With forecourts across the UK now open, our Data & Insight Director @therickw looks at buyer interactions with adverts on our platforms and how buyer behaviour is changing as forecourts reopen. https://t.co/Zp4A1iMpZR
From the 4th May we have a few changes coming to all of our packages on Auto Trader. https://t.co/z8x6kmM216
A few pointers from @chrispenny222 on how time can be saved through efficiencies in certain areas, allowing you to focus on areas that will improve your buyer's experience and generating more sales. https://t.co/ZFllNoZLZh
March was a record month for our marketplace, with an average of 2.2million visits to our site each day last month. https://t.co/qmKwKTzaYk
Our Data & Insight Director @therickw is on hand to share our latest audience update. Visits to our marketplace were up 102.2% compared to the same period in 2020 and up 35.4% when compared to normal trading conditions on 2019. https://t.co/yZRfUBTOYE
Less than 15 minutes until today's webinar. Register now to watch live or stay tuned right here for the highlights over the next hour > https://t.co/0UKfdpMNro https://t.co/Q6DtumZKVq
Join our next Courageous Conversations where our panel will be exploring political correctness, and what is PC when it comes to language surrounding people from marginalised backgrounds. Register now > https://t.co/pWiuFR0Fob https://t.co/oD6kohVaBf
Right now it's the @Tesla Model 3 that is drawing the most attention from prospective EV buyers on our platform, having the highest volume of advert views of any EV on our platform in the last month. https://t.co/lcXkrBXhPu
As the last of UK forecourts re-open today, we wish you and your business every success as we take our first step forward beyond the pandemic, together. https://t.co/XmKikgktFO

Auto Trader Group plc
Registered in England (Company number: 09439967)

Auto Trader Limited
Registered in England and Wales (Company number: 03909628)

Registered address:

1 Tony Wilson Place
Manchester
M15 4FN
VAT number: GB 614 8918 20

Keep in touch

We use social media to speak to the UK’s largest car buying audience