How Dealer Leads Are Shifting amid the Coronavirus

As tough times mount for the wider community, with many concerned about their physical and financial health, here at PriceMyCar we are observing a drastic slowdown among the number of prospective buyers interested in new cars, considered dealer leads. Although a reduction in buying interest is to be expected, the speed at which this has occurred, effectively in as little as two weeks, is something that doesn’t even compare with the Global Financial Crisis over a decade ago.

Total new car leads 

Despite starting the month with encouraging momentum, this quickly began to dissipate after the first week or so. The number of potential new car buyers who qualified as a lead through PriceMyCar totalled more than 1,000 in the first seven days of the month, however, in the seven day period ending 27 March, 2020, the number of interested buyers had plummeted 71.3% to just shy of 300.

As a forward indicator of potential sales, a magnitude of this drop puts into perspective the difficulties facing the new car industry at this present time amid the Coronavirus. What’s more, it compounds an already-difficult period for the market across the last two years.

While these figures are a measure of what sort of ‘qualified’ traffic we see interested in new cars, it is likely that dealers are witnessing an even bigger decline. The reason being, even if dealerships are considered an essential service, as more people change their behaviour to confine themselves to their homes, dealers will experience a significant reduction in walk-in foot traffic.

In fact, it is highly likely these walk-ins have instead shifted online and actually helped ‘inflate’ some of the figures recorded on our end, which means, the ‘true’ picture out there could be even more dire for the industry.

New car interest by brand

By the late stages of March, buying interest as measured by lead volume has all but dried up for various vehicles. Brands like Chrysler, Citroen, Fiat, Great Wall, Land Rover are just some of those where we did not see any prospective buyers interested in these cars across the seven day period ending 27 March 2020, while a host of others such as Peugeot, Mini, Chevrolet and Alfa Romeo provided just a solitary lead each.

While these brands are typically low-volume manufacturers, the figures among high-volume sellers are no more favourable. Between the first seven days of the month, and the week leading up to 27 March 2020, some of the market’s most popular brands recorded the following levels of buyer interest through our platform:

Prospective New Car Buyer Numbers

March 1-7

March 21-27

% Change in Leads

Honda

68

12

-82.4%

Hyundai

85

18

-78.8%

Mazda

90

26

-71.1%

Mitsubishi

59

18

-69.5%

Toyota

94

31

-67%

Kia

69

26

-62.3%

Luxury vehicle manufacturers BMW and Mercedes-Benz have also seen a sharp drop in interest from potential new car buyers, which is unsurprising given the many concerns that consumers have to contend with at the moment.

These numbers begin to put into perspective the scale of unprecedented shift that we are witnessing in new car buying interest, which can only lead to dealer hardship. We’ll provide our next update soon, so stay tuned for the latest commentary on lead activity and industry sales.

 

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