Survey finds most car dealerships positive about 2017 business prospects

Exclusive findings from Close Brothers Motor Finance’s Dealer Satisfaction Survey reveal the majority (63 per cent) are positive about their business prospects for 2017.

The Dealer Satisfaction Survey is a continual telephone survey undertaken by Close Brothers Motor Finance and reported on a monthly and quarterly basis. The survey questions 750 new and used car, motorcycle and light commercial vehicle dealerships across the UK to help provide a picture of dealer trends and help Close Brothers Motor Finance improve their service.

This iteration of the survey – undertaken in September and October – asked dealers about their performance over the past 6 months, their prospects for the year ahead, and what they see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for their business.

The research found that almost half (47 per cent) of dealers see the proliferation of new finance products as the biggest opportunity for the year ahead. The second and third biggest perceived opportunities for their business were changing consumer behaviour (33 per cent) and rising affordability of motor vehicles (31 per cent). Conversely, nearly half (43 per cent) thought the prospect of the UK economy going into a recession was the greatest threat to their business over the coming 12 months.

The survey also looked to analyse the performance of dealers over the last 6 months, and found that 42 per cent are performing better since the Brexit vote. Two in five (40 per cent) dealerships say their business is operating the same, and only 15 per cent state that their business is performing worse overall than it was six months ago.

Commenting on the findings, Paul Kaye, sales and marketing director, Close Brothers Motor Finance said:  “Our quarterly Dealership Satisfaction Survey is a granular look at the current sentiment of dealers in the UK, and gives us real insight into current and future priorities of dealers nationwide. Dealers’ positivity about their current and future business levels is promising, particularly given the heightened economic uncertainty we have been seeing over the past few months.  Despite these turbulent market conditions, consumer confidence remains resilient, with a record year of growth in the transactions for used vehicles for the year, and clearly this is benefitting dealerships across the nation.

“It is also no surprise that dealerships cite new financial products as the biggest opportunity for their business. The more financing options that are available from providers in showrooms, the greater likelihood that customers will leave their forecourt with a vehicle on that day. With consumers increasingly taking advantage of the high levels of ‘nearly-new’ stock that has been flooding the market of late, dealerships that maintain and grow their understanding of changing consumer behaviour and the opportunities that arise from these changes will continue to flourish.”

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