Why is this year any different?
The Irish Motor Industry is no stranger to facing challenges. The past decade has arguably seen the greatest change to our Industry landscape in the past 25 or 30 years. The challenges coming at us in the next 4 months are in many ways no different, however, we may not have faced so many in such a short period of time.
The last 4 months of any calendar year in the Motor trade are traditionally a planning phase. The used car lot’s are managed and attempts are made to wind down stock to acceptable levels to allow the dealer to trade in the new year busy season. Much time is spent planning in this period to ensure the critical 1st quarter new car sales targets are achieved.
This next 4 months will be exceptionally difficult for a number of reasons.
There are some major external factors, which dealers cannot control that will impact their sales efforts. We’ve identified 4 critical areas that will challenge every dealer in the coming months.
1. BREXIT: October 31st will finally see the outcome of over 2 years of negotiations on Britains exit from the EU. The timing of this is unfortunate for our Industry as it will be making all the headlines during the important “pre-sales” selling period for new cars.
Regardless of the final outcome, the media noise around Brexit will effect consumers purchase decisions and confidence. It is and will cause confusion amongst potential new car buyers as to what is the best decision to make.
The outcome of Brexit will potentially have great effects on the price of used cars in the next 6 months. In turn this will affect the price walk (cost to change) for many potential new car customers.
Will there be a glut of imports prior to the Brexit deadline?
Will this lead to a price drop in used car values?
How will this effect the value of your existing stock?
Have you the ability to trade out of your current stock if this happens?
2. WLTP : This new emissions testing regulation will mean, in many cases, higher prices on some new cars. It now looks very likely the Government will widen the current motor tax bands by between 10 and 20 per cent to account for higher emissions under the new fuel economy tests.
The uncertainty is causing unrest in the motor trade, as there will be no definite ruling on any changes to the tax system until the October budget at the earliest.
The effects of WLTP as of now are unknown, however, it may lead to a significant increase in the cost to change for some if not all customers.
WLTP is already having effects on stock availability of new cars due to the uncertainty of how it will be implemented.
3. THE ELECTRIC QUESTION: Many customers are trying to decide if Electric or Hybrid should be their next choice. There are also concerns about choosing Petrol or Diesel as their next vehicle choice. The one thing that is certain is confusion! The problem with confusion amongst car buyers is it can often lead to apathy and delaying a decision.
4. COST TO CHANGE: In the past 2 years, many customers have noticed an increase in their traditional 2 or 3 year costs to change. This price walk to a new car has the potential to increase significantly again. If there is a surplus of used cars imports pre-Brexit and an increase in new car prices, customers will have to pay a lot more to upgrade.
This could also have effects on existing PCP deals and buybacks for dealers and customers.
With all of this in mind, it’s easy to interpret the possibility of a perfect storm to hit the Irish Motor Industry in the next few months. With every cloud comes a silver lining and there will be opportunities for many dealers. Regardless of what happens, there will be new and used cars that need to be sold.
AS A DEALER, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
It’s clear every dealer will need to take some action to counteract these challenges. Although the outcomes of a lot of these issues are outside your control, you can still make plans to help maximise your new and used car sales over the next 4 months.
There is about an 8 week window remaining to maximise your used car sales, including hire drives, demo’s and any pre-reg vehicles. Analyse exactly where your stock levels are now and exactly where they need to be on October 31st. Identify any over-age, expensive or vulnerable stock that needs to be sold quickly.
Over the next 6 weeks you will need to have a detailed plan for your new car sales push. This will include a model by model target and how each of the above factors may influence you achieving this target.
Look at your range of electric and hybrid vehicles and identify how you can educate your customers to make a choice. Many customers are confused or simply not aware of how you can help them to reduce their emissions and offer the best choice. Informing the customer is the key here. Make sure they hear your message.
Analyse your PCP offer and any PCP contracts falling due and identify any areas of concern or opportunity that lies in this area.
One thing is for sure, taking no action in the next 8 weeks is not an option.
Unsure of where to start? We can help with mining your database and with your new and used car campaigns. Call us now on 045 409285 for more information.