• Despite UK used car sales boom, stock availability, online purchasing and economic uncertainty remain key dealer challenges in 2021, new research shows
  • In response, leading warranty provider WMS Group launches ‘From The Forecourt’; a mini-report series providing dealers with insight into future opportunities

Stock availability, online purchasing and economic uncertainty are the top challenges facing car dealers in the second half of 2021, according to a new report released by leading warranty provider WMS Group.

The report, entitled ‘How is The Pandemic Changing the Dealer Market?’, outlines how despite a much-needed boost in UK used car sales in recent months, concerns over profitability and stock availability means the sector remains in a challenging time where every sale counts.

Based on research into 150 car retailers across the country, WMS also found that 30% of car retailers noticed an increase in customers wanting to buy online – as 83% of dealers admitted to selling cars over the past year without even seeing the customer.

The report is the first to be published as part of the company’s new ‘From The Forecourt’ series – a dedicated resource for dealers to help them identify future growth opportunities. The series will highlight the key findings from extensive research exploring industry trends such as digital transformation and the sector’s electric vehicle offering.

Responding to today’s findings, Craig Grant, Commercial Director, said: “It’s great news that the UK car retailing market is currently thriving following more than a year of pandemic lockdowns, showroom closures and reigning uncertainty.

“Yet behind the resilience and optimism, challenges such as stock availability still exist and a key part of addressing this is understanding exactly how the pandemic has impacted dealerships and their customers. Our report provides dealers with invaluable insight into how to take advantage of this new market through digital investment, adapting the sales model and maximising the profitability of each sale.”

The four-page document looks at how car retailers have responded to the pandemic with contactless capabilities such as click and collect and home delivery, which almost a third (27%) of dealers said presented more opportunities to sell warranties.

Indeed, around a fifth (20%) of retailers noted an uplift in more customers enquiring about warranties. Meanwhile, seven in 10 consumers (69%) believe being offered a warranty would make them more likely to buy a car.

Hence, the study outlines the need for dealers to be using the products and strategies available to them to full effect, including having a profitable finance and insurance (F&I) product programme.

Craig adds: “It’s clear that car retailers should look to create a much more profitable F&I offering through warranty products – which will not only boost their revenue on each sale but also enhance their perception among customers.

“At a time when uncertainty still reigns, customers will be looking for peace of mind – and whether they’re purchasing used cars online or returning to showrooms a warranty can give them that.”

 To download How is The Pandemic Changing the Dealer Market?’visit From The Forecourt Series here.