AutoFocus issue 2 is out now, read it here!


1) New car production

Rising prices of materials and a shortage of semiconductors continues to impact global new car production. As a result, manufacturers have taken drastic actions such as plant closures, reducing the number of models produced, or fitting aftermarket parts. Even still, supply remains down and isn’t expected to return to normal until at least 2022.

2) Changing used car dealer habits

A lack of new car supply is having a profound effect on the used car market. To navigate the current headwinds, dealers are having to lean on all their experience and knowledge. Most are holding on to more part-exchanges than usual and adapting their stock profiles to higher mileage and ages, even stocking brands they usually wouldn’t.

3) Automotive retail has transformed

Consumer expectations have changed during the pandemic and businesses have had to accelerate their digitisation strategies as a result. A larger proportion of the buying process is being carried out online, with a study by AM showing that 76.3% of franchised dealers had adopted a full end-to-end online retail offering, with 81.6% using live vehicle video tours and 72% utilising home deliveries.

4) Manufacturers are recovering well

While profits were understandably hit in the early parts of Q1, with most OEMS seeing losses, as 2020 ended and Q1 2021 began, most of the OEMs were actually generating profits, with the exception of Nissan. OEMs have bounced back strongly, underpinned by a mix of improving volumes, better market conditions, increased plant utilisation, and cost reductions.

5) Growing interest in used EVs

Data from Auto Trader UK has revealed that consumer interest in used EVs is growing. A recent study showed that 9.6% of all cars looked were EVs, while the number of EVs on Auto Trader has risen five-fold in the past five years. Historically, spikes in activity have been observed when the government makes announcements related to the EV sector, but in general interest has been on an upwards trajectory since early 2020.