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Industry analysis: An increase in auto sales after the lockdown appears unlikely

As a strong example of this, of the 3,000 vehicles that Vertu sells per week, only about 70 are “pure” online sales, where the customer researches the car, organizes the parts exchange, completes the financing and has the car delivered without ever having it speak to an employee.

This means that when dealers are opened, part of the human contact is permanently reduced. “Before the last lockdown, we had real success with unaccompanied test drives,” said Forrester. “Customers liked it and the salespeople preferred it because it made them more productive because they weren’t in the back of the car.”

Others confirm this mixed approach. Vauxhall General Manager Paul Willcox said, “It’s likely that we’ll see a hybrid approach to retail in the future, with a lot more done online, but we believe, by and large, that people treat people want and they also want to see If you touch and test the vehicles, our dealer network will continue to play a very valuable role in the future. “

With regard to used vehicles, Forrester agreed to a recent study by Cap HPI that captured the strong demand for sports cars and convertibles. Values ​​rose 7% last year, compared to a 3% decrease 12 months earlier. “Used car values ​​have risen across the board,” he said. “But there is strong demand for these types of cars, especially because they are [buyers] want to have some fun. Land Rover is doing very well for the same reason. Customers are very keen on lifestyle and ready to overcome the boredom of lockdown. “

In the new car sector, the pandemic has accelerated the move towards electrification, even without the additional impetus for the 2030 deadline for the ban on vehicles with combustion engines. With fewer kilometers traveled, more choice and a constantly improving charging infrastructure, buyers will switch more and more likely. According to SMMT numbers for February 2021, new car sales were down 35.3% year over year, while EV registrations increased 40.2% and PHEVs increased 52.1%, representing a 13% market share.

Obviously, stocks must be available for this expectation of a gradual increase in sales across the board. “Used stocks are fine,” said Forrester. “New car sales won’t be the problem either, but new car supply may be a bigger problem. They have the potential for further lockdowns in Europe as well as potential delays from Covid in factories and supply chains. All of this means that the supply of new vehicles could become scarce. “

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