Rachael Prasher, managing director of What Car? and Haymarket Automotive provides her weekly update for automotive industry colleagues.

“This week, the results of our polling of visitors to whatcar.com show a firming up of those only willing to wait four weeks for a ‘factory order’ - rising from 33% to 37%. In fact, the data suggests that the longest most people will wait is going to be eight weeks – a further 26% state that as their maximum - unless the vehicle is highly desirable and a must-have purchase.

It’s the headline behind the headline that’s even more important here, though. If you can’t satisfy a customer’s first-choice, what will they do? Increasingly, our poll respondents are saying that if there are no in-stock options available they will flip to another brand. In fact, the number expecting to make that decision leapt from 25% to 35% in the last week.

And to drum home the point even more, those who are not interested in getting the exact spec, colour, trim, engine and more that they want, will switch their order to another brand. That’s up to 14.5% from 12.7% two weeks ago.

One thing is for sure, there are buyers”.

What Car? is now recording a huge increase in the number of in-market consumers researching and searching for the best deal, What Car?’s figures are 47% higher than during the first week of lockdown, the “same level of enquiries to our dealer partners as we did in early March”.

“Most trends we’ve identified have evolved consistently. However, the fall of people indicating they are looking to buy beyond six month’s time is stark – down from 55% at the start to 21% now.
“It’s arguably why the Government needs to put in place an incentive scheme sooner rather than later”, Prasher added.

“In my view, the only debate there should be is the format that a stimulus package should take. An EV-focused programme would be limited by supply and the relatively high-cost of such vehicles. A broader hybrid-focused initiative has more appeal but will not help all car makers.
That's why I would prefer to see a broader still approach, aimed at getting older cars off the road, but recognising the giant environmental strides taken by the latest generations of petrol, diesel and electrified vehicles. Whatever tomorrow brings, though, we at least know there are consumers looking for a good deal, from a good dealer. Now”, she concl