by Richard Robinson

“Rising inflation has seen car retailing pulled over off the motorway; now it needs to work to avoid being diverted onto a B road”

  • Consumer confidence down two points to lowest ever score of -40 in May
  • Retails sales in the UK fell 1.1% year-on-year in May
  • The upswing in used car process has gone into reverse.

“If motor retailing was a motorway, after driving in the fast lane for much of the last 18 months in the time of success, the sector is now on a quieter ‘A’ road in terms of activity. Our concern is that unless retailers pivot their stock management focus and enhance their aftersales activities, it risks being directed onto ‘B’ roads or worse.” This is the call to action from Richard Robinson, Chief Operating Officer at Real Time Communications.

The impact of rising inflation is very evident. Car sales have joined other big-ticket items such as furniture and electronics, which the British Retail Consortium has identified as being hardest hit by the cutbacks in consumer spending. 23% of consumers now aim to delay their next car purchase, while others look to trade down or seek a more economical car. The car retailing landscape has changed rapidly. The challenge, as Richard notes, is for the sector to demonstrate its agility and get back on track.

“The need to get back to basics is clear. In terms of stock management discipline and especially in helping customers to optimise their car’s economy and reliability by picking up momentum in aftersales, particularly as this is an area that has seen activity slide over the last 18 months.”