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Strong used car market and busy aftersales, franchised dealers tell NFDA

NFDA 18/09/2020

• NFDA publishes findings of the latest post-lockdown automotive retail survey

• High levels of footfall and online enquiries for used cars

• Increase in bookings for service departments

The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK, has published the findings of the latest ‘post-lockdown automotive retail’ survey. Through the findings, NFDA aims to assess the implications of COVID-19 on the automotive retail sector and understand how the industry is now recovering.

The survey asked dealers questions about the current situation since reopening including the numbers of staff that have returned to work, current levels of customer footfall as well as online enquiries and sales.

Following the previous surveys in June, July and August, this edition was conducted between 7 and 14 September 2020.

Key findings

• Staff levels: 53% of franchised dealers have brought back 75% of staff, whilst 35% of dealerships are now fully staffed.

• Footfall: franchised dealers are experiencing high levels of footfall for used cars with 39% seeing an increase of up to 25% from this time last year.

• Online enquiries 44% of franchised dealers have seen an increase in online new car sales enquiries in the last month, whilst 70% had more enquiries for used cars.

• Online sales: 50% of dealers saw an increase in online used car sales, while 30% had more online sales for new cars.

• Aftersales: 72% of franchised dealers have seen an increase in online and phone bookings for service departments.

Sue Robinson, NFDA Director, commented, “Dealers report high levels of online enquiries and customer footfall for used cars. Following August’s marginal decline in private demand for new cars, it is encouraging to see that interest in used cars remains strong.

“Aftersales departments have been busy over the past weeks as roads get busier and motorists visit franchised dealers more regularly for a number of repairs including basic maintenance checks that might have been overlooked during the lockdown. Dealers are bringing more staff back to dealerships and are working hard to improve the efficiency of their workshops.

“We will continue to monitor the health of the sector over the coming weeks and tailor our surveys to obtain accurate dealers’ insights in line with the current state of the market”.

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About the RMI

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.