The new car market could be set for a post-Covid boom as new research suggests 95 per cent of in-market buyers are ready to re-enter showrooms when lockdown ends.
Following the government announcement of a roadmap towards lifting the current national lockdown, consumer magazine What Car? asked 2,823 buyers if they would feel comfortable entering a retailer’s premises once the guidelines allow.
Ninety-five per cent of people also said they believe showrooms can be run in a Covid-safe way, up from 89 per cent when the same question was asked in October 2020.
Under the government’s new plan, car dealers will be able to reopen from April 12, meaning they miss out on the March number plate change, one of the busiest periods of the year. However, this could lead to massive pent up demand once lockdown measures ease.
Rachael Prasher, managing director of What Car?, said: “With 95 per cent of in-market buyers ready to step back into showrooms, our research shows the high level of confidence the public has in retailers being able to operate safely.
“The research also shows how significant retailers are to buyers, despite the various online platforms now available to them.
“It is disappointing for the industry that customers will have to stay away from showrooms for the next few months – especially as March is such a significant month in the year for new car sales – but the sector has already shown that it can meet strict health and safety guidelines and it will be ready to do so again, once the restrictions ease.”
Of those who said they would not be comfortable entering a showroom, 27 per cent say that a booking system that would restrict the number of people at the premises could see them return to forecourts. Meanwhile, 21 per cent wanted obvious signs of regular disinfecting, and 14 per cent wanted clear space dividers for staff and customers.
Dealers will be hoping that 2021 will see buyers flocking back to buy cars. Despite many implementing distance selling methods to allow people to buy cars safely, overall new vehicle registrations were down almost 30 per cent in 2020.