Record interest in new car buying ahead of September plate change

Car dealers are anticipating a bumper month for sales following the September plate change, as Auto Trader reports record interest in new cars.

The online marketplace said it sent a record number of new car leads to retailers for a single day on August 18, which was 69 per cent higher than the daily average during the last week in February ahead of the March plate change.

Meanwhile, a record 1.5 million unique users viewed new cars on the site across July, which was a 43 per cent rise on the same month last year. This resulted in a record month for new car leads sent to retailers, increasing 173 per cent year-on-year.

The news follows a tough year for the car industry, which saw registrations plummet because dealerships were forced to close during the coronavirus pandemic. However, with dealers now open providing they can adhere to strict social distancing protocols, many have predicted pent up demand will be released next month when the new 70 plate is released.

Auto Trader’s Commercial Director, Ian Plummer, said: “Whilst our metrics offer a very promising outlook, in the very specific context of 2020 a profitable September is more important than ever to all our retailer and manufacturer partners. From the beginning of the crisis, we have done all we can to support our customers, and the plate change, which represents a vital step in restoring the health of the new car market, is no exception.

“Building on the pick-up of consumer interest and lead volumes through May and June, last month saw the very welcome news of a growing new car market for the first time in many months. And there are significant reasons to believe more growth can be found in September.”