Ongoing survey unwraps post-lockdown dealer experiences

Published:  14 July, 2020

 While many independent garages were open and operating all the way through lockdown, almost all franchised dealer outlets were shuttered for the duration, including their workshops, and an ongoing survey is showing how this part of the sector is opening up.

The NFDA is running the survey to understand the implications of the COVID-19 lockdown on the dealer sector. The first issue of the survey ran between 15 and 19 June, while the second one was conducted from 29 June to 2 July.

According to the survey,75.2% of dealerships opened on 1 June, with more staff being progressively brought back. 98% of those who responded to the survey used the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

During the first two weeks, 80.2% of dealers surveyed saw an increase in online sales enquiries, while 66.7% saw online sales rise. Interestingly, two weeks later, only 55.6% were reporting a rise in new car online enquiries, with only one in four saying they have sold more cars online. However, in the used sector, 83.2% of dealers saw a larger volume of online enquiries and 55.45% saw an increase in online used car sales.

More than half of dealers saw an increase in phone enquiries from potential customers prior to visiting dealerships. 65% saw a moderate or considerable increase in phone enquiries at the end of June, compared with 60% during the month

Sue Robinson, NFDA Director, said “Despite the significant challenges caused by over two months of lockdown, dealers showed encouraging signs from the first trading weeks since dealers reopened in the UK, including an increase in online enquiries and sales. Positively, the majority of dealers reopened as soon as they could and reported that all customers are accepting the changes to the standard operational procedures allowing retailers to continue to do business safely and smoothly.”

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