An insufficient supply of both new and used cars throughout September has dampened what might have been a record month for the UK car industry, according to Cox Automotive.
Despite reported increases in sales throughout September since early June, sales figures began to dwindle as numerous dealers ran out of cars.
Regarding the new car segment, Philip Nothard, customer insight and strategy director at Cox Automotive UK, explained that “constraints on car production on manufacturers continued to hamper supply which subsequently hindered the delivery of new car customer orders.”
Northard continued: “Demand for new cars in September started strong but ended-up behind last year’s performance in the same period in 2019, considering both 2018 and 2019 had a severe impact from the introduction of new legislations (WLTP & RDE)”.
Concerning the used car segment, a reduction in market volumes since the lifting of lockdown did little to hinder financial performance, as many dealers reported strong margins for the month.
This was supported by recent data from the ‘Market Trackers for Cars’ produced by Cox Automotive UK, which stated: “Wholesale trade values remained ahead of 2019 for both September at 97.09% and post-lockdown (Jun 1 – Sept 30) at 96.95%. First-time conversions were also 3% ahead of the same period in 2019. Although volumes increased marginally in the month compared to the same period in 2019, overall volumes have remained down since lockdown lifted.”
Data from NextGear Capital reinforces these trends. According to the stock-funding arm of Cox Automotive, the average price-funded by dealers in September increased by 21% to £9388.74 ($12,146.8). When looking at the whole period since lockdown, this figure represents a monthly increase of 2.3%.
Cox Automotive, whose mission is “turning massive challenges into meaningful change” may have their work cut out for them over the final quarter of 2020. Referring to several challenges such as supply constraints, economic uncertainty and a lack of clarity over Brexit, Northard expressed his concerns for the industry and a prevailing sense of “caution amongst dealers”.