TrustFord has updated its website to enable customers browsing used cars to ‘lock in’ their chosen vehicle during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The move is part of a package of measures to enable the factory owned dealer group to reach out to customers.
TrustFord has already adopted Ford’s ‘Peace of Mind’ campaign launched to bolster consumer confidence.
This allows new customers the opportunity to defer their payments for three months and then add three months’ cashback or a deposit allowance.
As this is combined with 0% APR available on selected models the national dealer group believes that this will provide extra confidence to prospective new car and commercial vehicle customers.
TrustFord chairman and CEO, Stuart Foulds, said: ‘It is critical that everyone in the industry does whatever they can to find new ways to reach out and help consumers at this time.
“We have been looking at simple ways to help all our customers with their payments and Ford’s initiative gives extra help to those ready to purchase their next car or commercial vehicle.
“We have also added ‘Choose Now’ to the used car customer journey meaning anyone can reserve their vehicle of choice immediately. Although we are unable to open our dealerships for sales we have the resource in place to handle all enquiries and process orders until we are able to welcome customers back to our sites.’
TrustFord’s latest update follows news of their work in providing disposable seat covers and mobile servicing, repairs and aftersales support to NHS and frontline workers during the Covid-19 crisis.
The used car market saw consistent 90% conversion rates during the first quarter of 2020 with dealer part exchanges and petrol stock returning record prices, according to the latest Aston Barclay Market Insights report.
Fleet prices rose during Q1 with the first 10 weeks of 2020 extremely buoyant, until the COVID-19 lockdown affected sales volumes, while prices remained stable.
The high demand for sub-£10,000 stock fuelled the Q1 market and Aston Barclay expects this to continue as consumer confidence returns to the market later in 2020 and 2021.
“All our part exchange sectors have experienced high demand and prices during Q1. Dealers need to keep a close eye on stock mix to ensure they have plenty of cars priced between £3,000-£9,500, which remains the current sweet spot of the market,” explained Martin Potter, Aston Barclay’s managing director, auctions.
The young dealer part-exchange sector (55-78 months in age) rose 3.8% (£237) from £6,153 in Q4 2019 to £6,390 in Q1 2020 and the old sector (79-126 months) rose by 4.2% (£146) from £3,408 in Q4 2019 to £3,554 in Q1 2020. Both sectors reached their highest prices since Aston Barclay launched its Market Insights report in 2017.
Petrol car prices reached their second highest level up 9.8% from £4,470 in Q4 to £4,910 in Q1, fuelled by the popularity in smaller petrol hatchbacks.
Diesel prices at £7,613 fell back slightly from Q4 19 and the market is starting to see more consistency in hybrid and electric car prices. Average Q1 prices at £13,332 fell just £43 from Q4 2019, despite a 30% increase in hybrid and EV entries.
“We have certainly seen more hybrids and EVs go through auction in Q1 and we believe this trend will continue. Once again used cars in this sector could benefit from the limited new car supply coming into the market over the coming months,” explained Potter.
Dealership group Vertu Motors has launched a Haircuts for Heroes challenge to raise £20,000 for frontline NHS staff and volunteers caring for Covid-19 patients.
It’s asking colleagues who are going down the DIY hairdo road during lockdown to donate some of what they would have normally spent at their barbershop or salon to its appeal in aid of NHS Charities Together.
They are also being encouraged to publish ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures on social media and try to get their friends to follow suit – or should that be ‘follow hirsute’? – and after chief executive Robert Forrester tweeted about it, people were keen to show off their endeavours, while some vowed they would do so shortly…
Vertu Motors has published an online template for people to use – which adds that people can also donate without cutting their hair. Donations can be made via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/haircuts-for-heroes.
Simon Bailes Peugeot has won praise from the chancellor of the exchequer for letting pharmacies use its demonstrator fleet to make home deliveries.
As reported by Car Dealer Magazine, with its showrooms temporarily closed the dealer group, which is based in the north-east of England, put the test-drive vehicles at the pharmacies’ disposal, as it wanted to help its communities.
It has also donated 20,000 disposable seat covers to frontline NHS workers to help prevent any spread of the coronavirus, as well as given breakdown assistance to NHS staff driving a Peugeot, Citroen or DS. Now Rishi Sunak has written to company founder Simon Bailes, saying: ‘Your substantial contributions – making your demonstrator fleet available for pharmacy deliveries, donating thousands of disposable seat covers to the NHS and extending breakdown assistance to NHS staff – is truly exemplary.
‘The challenge the nation faces is unprecedented, and the knowledge that businesses like yours are prepared to go the extra yard to help our medical services in their hour of greatest need is gratifying and reassuring.
‘Earlier in this crisis, I spoke of how, when it is all over, we would look back on the many acts of kindness that helped us as individuals and collectively to overcome. Your actions since the start of the national emergency certainly fall into that category. Thank you again.’
Bailes said: ‘It’s great for my team to have their efforts recognised by the chancellor. However, like many other businesses in the area, we are motivated to do whatever we can to support our frontline NHS staff and those within the wider healthcare sector.’
Its vehicle servicing departments are open for essential vehicle servicing and maintenance, giving priority to emergency vehicles and those used by key workers.
The high-demand for sub-£10,000 used cars seen in Q1 is expected to continue when the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown is lifted, according to Aston Barclay.
The remarketing business said that the wholesale used car market had been “on fire” ahead of last month’s closure of all non-essential retail operations by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with £3,000 to £9,000 vehicles proving to be the market’s “sweet spot”.
Conversion rates consistently around 90% were seen during Q1, Aston Barclay said, with dealer part exchanges and petrol stock returning record prices and fleet vehicle values also on the rise.
Martin Potter, Aston Barclay’s managing director, auctions, said: “All our part exchange sectors have experienced high demand and prices during Q1.
“Dealers need to keep a close eye on stock mix to ensure they have plenty of cars priced between £3,000-£9,500, which remains the current sweet spot of the market.”
According to Aston Barclay’s Market Insights report, values in its young dealer part exchange sector (55-78 months in age) rose 3.8% (£237), from £6,153 in Q4 2019 to £6,390 in Q1 2020, and the old sector (79-126 months) rose by 4.2% (£146), from £3,408 in Q4 2019 to £3,554 in Q1 2020.
Both sectors reached their highest prices since Aston Barclay launched its report in 2017.
Average fleet prices rose by 1.7% (£174) from £9,799 in Q4 19 to £9,973 in Q1, helped by average mileage reducing 3,322 miles in the quarter.
Aston Barclay noted that the effect of fleet operators’ COVID-19 prompted extension of leasing contracts – a result of restricted new car supplies – was likely to cause initial shortages of used ex-fleet stock when trading resumes.
However, restricted driver movement during the lockdown should keep mileages under low in the interim period…