The automotive retail market must now accept turbulent market conditions as a matter of course and focus on factors within its control. That’s the view from Cox Automotive as it releases the seventh instalment of its quarterly AutoFocus digital automotive insight update.
In the lead article of the latest issue of AutoFocus, Cox Automotive’s Insight and Strategy Director Philip Nothard stated that it had become clear that hopes of a bounce back within new vehicle production and used car supply were proving short lived, with production and supply challenges likely to extend into 2023 and beyond. Furthermore, amid the persistent impact of major events such as the cost-of-living crisis, rising energy prices and conflict in Ukraine, Nothard reaffirmed his position that the Automotive sector had to get used to ‘VUCA’ – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity – and adapt to a changing retail landscape.
Against a backdrop of continued headwinds, he emphasised the need for businesses to embrace this new reality, maintain strong business foundations and implement clear long-term strategies. While planning in the short to medium term is made difficult by heightened levels of uncertainty, he stressed the importance of establishing strong fundamentals and targeting sustained cost and operational efficiency gains in preparation for when supply returns to stronger levels. Doing so will place retailers in a better position to weather the uncertainty ahead.    
Nothard commented: “Although the prospect of a return to pre-pandemic market conditions has become increasingly unlikely, we cannot know what’s truly ahead of us. The goal should therefore be to focus on developing and implementing a clear long-term strategy and doing the basics well. In addition, understanding your operations and cost base and where there is the greatest scope to achieve efficiencies will give retailers a better chance to move ahead on a stronger footing.”
This latest AutoFocus expands on the recent challenges faced by the sector, touching on various issues, including the economic factors shaping the automotive market, changing retail dynamics and the latest thinking on electric vehicle battery technology and charging, bringing together perspectives from industry experts such as Prof. Dr Stefan Rostek from University of Europe for Applied Sciences, Owen Edwards at Grant Thornton, Steve Young from the ICDP, and Tom Callow at myenergi. It also highlights Cox Automotive’s latest new and used car forecasts for 2022 and 2023, analysing recent developments within the market and their impact on pricing trends.