15 Jun 2020
An improvised approach is being successfully adopted across large sections of the used car market to handle the dramatic increase in sales being seen as the UK starts to move out of lockdown, reports Startline Motor Finance.
CEO Paul Burgess said that it was now clear that June was seeing a considerable release of pent-up demand as dealerships in England reopened – and that retailers and their suppliers were often having to create processes on the spot to solve problems as they arose.
“The used car market is very much being powered by a ‘can do’ spirit at the moment. The industry as whole has had a relatively short space of time to adapt to the new trading conditions that we are seeing, and there is a real all-hands-on-deck feel to proceedings during what is proving to be a busy month compared to any previous standards.
“In fact, there appear to be two extremes of problem-solving. On one hand, there is a definite concentration on making sure that advanced, contact-free, reserve-and-collect IT systems are in place and functioning correctly for the wellbeing of all while, on the other, people are problem solving on the ground in real time using the tools to hand.”
Paul said that it was also proving to be a moment when trusted suppliers offering a consistent service were being handed greater levels of responsibility by dealers.
“Vehicle retailers just don’t have the time or the resources to mess around right now. They’re too busy selling cars and engineering new processes that will keep everyone safe and, if you are a trusted supplier, then you are likely to see more business.
“Certainly, we are seeing indications of this trend in motor finance but it also clear that it is happening in other areas of the market. If you are a problem solver, dealers will increasingly want to work with you.”
However, it was clear that, despite current levels of business being high, dealers remained very concerned about how trading conditions may develop over the remainder of 2020 and the unusually high level of uncertainty in the market, he added.
“Part of the improvised approach that we are now seeing is that no-one knows what the next few months will bring. There is a possibility that we could return to relatively normal trading quite quickly or see a series of peaks and troughs.
“Medium and long-term planning is very difficult and that is one of the reasons that we are seeing the industry working almost on a one-day-at-a-time basis until the picture becomes clearer. It is a very, very unusual time.”