The market fall in the all-important March plate-change and Q1 is hardly surprising considering the macroeconomic headwinds. We know there was plenty of tactical activity over the course of the month which makes the -2.8% fall in retail demand hugely disappointing.
Car retailers needed a strong finish to Q1 after what had been a flat start to the year. The challenge dealers face now is how to trade profitably in Q2 with Brexit still unresolved, talk of a General Election and the continued fall in diesel demand.
Dealers need to create some momentum for Q2, which means focusing, more than ever, on aftersales and used cars. These are the revenue streams they can influence and grow no matter what’s happening in the new car market.
If the new car market continues to shrink this year, we will still see the dominant players take a bigger share through bold marketing, aggressive pricing and acquisitions. For those retailers with a smaller footprint, it must be a case of counting every enquiry and making every enquiry count, as anything less would be commercial madness.