Vehicle retailers cite availability and price of used car stock amongst top challenges in the year ahead.

To download Adapting to Changing Times’visit From The Forecourt series here.

  • Despite an increase in used car sales throughout 2021, stock availability and pricing remain top dealer concerns for 2022, new research shows
  • The research, by WMS Group, comes as part of its ‘From the Forecourt’ series; a collection of mini-reports designed to provide insight and advice on the key challenges facing the industry

As we leave behind another tumultuous year caused by the global pandemic and move into 2022, used car stock availability and vehicle prices continue to be top challenges cited by car dealers, according to new research by leading warranty provider, WMS Group.

The research, which is captured in WMS’ new ‘From the Forecourt’ mini-report entitled ‘Adapting to Changing Times’, outlines that while more than 70% of dealers are feeling confident when looking ahead to 2022, 85% cite concerns over availability of used car stock and 71% on high pricing – particularly while the shortage of new vehicles shows no signs of abating.

The report is the second to be published as part of the company’s From the Forecourt series and responds specifically to key issues raised by WMS’ recently launched Dealer Panel – an industry panel made up of car dealers from across the nation providing opinions and views on the big issues facing the sector today. ‘Adapting to Changing Times’ includes the Dealer Panel’s views of the motor industry and key takeaways from WMS – supporting the industry to identify future opportunities and increase profitability at a time where every sale counts.

Responding to the findings, Craig Grant, Managing Director at WMS Group, said: “After more than a year of pandemic disruption, the used car market is soaring – attributed largely to the global shortage of semiconductor chips driving unforeseeable demand for used cars. We’re experiencing some of the highest sales figures we’ve ever seen, however with that has come increasing prices and a significant supply and demand issue – as cited by our Dealer Panel.

“Our latest report finds used car stock availability and pricing far outweighed all other concerns by our dealers, some of which included economic uncertainty (33%), recruitment (19%) and Brexit (10%).

“Along with the findings of our first Dealer Panel research, the report also provides dealers with guidance and advice on meeting challenges head on, such as a focus on upselling aftersales products despite a move to a much more digital sales process to maximise profitability; investing in new products and services to stand out from the crowd in an increasingly competitive market; and adding value to customers to capitalise on a continuing changing landscape as we move into 2022.

“A key part of us creating our very own Dealer Panel, and collating these research findings, is to ensure we’re on the pulse of the big issues facing the sector today, from the very people that it matters to most. It also gives us a real opportunity to respond to these challenges, ensuring we can fully understand our customers’ needs, but also add real value as a warranty partner – taking a real data-driven approach to what we do.”

Based on its Dealer Panel research, WMS also found that before the pandemic just 2% of car dealers offered ‘click & collect’ and delivery services. This has now boomed to a staggering 88% in 2021, with the same number of dealers having increased their social media presence as a result of the pandemic, and an increase of 55% of dealers who advertise more on online websites.

The report also future-gazes towards the rise of Electric Vehicles (EV). With the SMMT reporting a 1.7% uplift on battery EV sales in November (compared to November 2020) and plug-in cars representing more than 28% of the market in the same month, the shift to electrification is well and truly on as we hurtle towards the Government’s 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars. However, car dealers anecdotally raised that the surge of electric vehicles prompted additional concerns – with both petrol and diesel still readily available.

Craig adds: “The past two years have seen many highs and lows for the industry, and with the rise of electrification, more change is certainly to come which dealers will need to pay heed to.

“It is clear that to stand out in a competitive market, dealers who are not yet embracing digital sales processes, ‘click & collect’ services and online advertising will fall behind the curve, particularly as the online car supermarket model dominates the industry.

“At a time where there is still much uncertainty for dealers and customers alike, a dealer with a robust suite of aftersales products offers peace of mind to its clients, and whilst used car stock remains a challenge, with many cars and vans clocking up miles, a reliable warranty product will ensure drivers are kept on the road for longer.”

To download Adapting to Changing Times’visit From The Forecourt series here.

Providing reliable extended warranty cover and other motoring protection to more than 20% of automotive dealers across the UK, WMS Group supplies a wide range of trusted solutions.