Two weeks ago I was at the Drving Business Aftermarket conference, which takes place on a nice estate of “Castle” Vanenburg in Putten in the center of the Netherlands. It was the place where the National Used Car Research was presented by VWE, the official Dutch car data provider.
The numbers are encouraging, there are more used car sold this year compared to last year. Also dealerships and traders have sold more cars to consumers, while private selling was down. However, there is a trend, people keep their cars longer than before. Mainly to save money and because newer cars are better made than they used to be. Especially consumers up to 35 years old keep their car longer these days, fewer cars have been sold to this age group. Young people love Seat nowadays, it’s the most popular brand. Average ownership was 3.5 years in 2009, next year it will crack the 4 years barrier.
Older people change cars faster. Most beloved brands are Toyota and Dacia. You can guess the reasons: Toyotas are reliable and Dacias are (relatively) cheap.
Consumers tend to buy cars closer to home, especially smaller cars from superminis to subcompacts (Smart, Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf), stock of used cars is growing again, so there is plenty to choose from close to home. For bigger and more exclusive cars buyers want to travel more. That too, is not really surprising, the offers of well-maintained and good quality cars are no at every street corner.
Export is going down too. There is a shortage of used cars, so imports are up a whopping 24%. Especially small young cars are in demand. And you know what happens when products are scarce: prices go up. Still non-branded dealership sell these cars a little below market value, so their stock shifts quicker and the (average) time on lot stays low.
This research is a gem of information for your dealership. Now you know you need to market your compacts and superminis locally. That’s ideal when you’re offering service too, play your cards right and you can get new customers for service as well. Especially younger people are not loyal to dealerships anymore and they live close by. You can capture this target audience with nice incentives like rebates on tires, oil changes or pre-holiday checks.
For buyers of bigger and more exclusive cars you have to do more. Your first impression and presentation are everything, so your cars have to be photographed perfectly, have extended descriptions and preferably have a video on them
The better you can convince customers online, the quicker they will come to visit you. You just have to do the deal.
So, there is work to do and if you don’t know where to start, I’ll be glad to help. Contact me for a free consult.