Data from Auto Trader suggests consumer demand for new and used cars is growing rapidly with a third of in-market buyers expected to make a purchase in the next two weeks. Last week (April 5-11) the number of daily cross-platform visits to Auto Trader averaged at 2.4 million, which is a 38% increase on the same period in 2019, and an 8% increase on the prior week.
The average time spent on Auto Trader also grew ahead of the reopening of physical forecourts: last week, consumers spent an average of 379,339 hours every day on its marketplace, which is a 35% increase on the same week in 2019, and up 11% on the week before. As a result of this increased activity on site, the average number of leads being sent to retailers by Auto Trader surged, increasing 81% on the same period in 2019.
An ongoing shortage of crucial semiconductors is the only factor weighing on a global recovery of the car sector from the coronavirus crisis, Herbert Diess, chief executive of Volkswagen AG, said on Thursday. Demand is picking up in the United States, Brazil and China, Diess said at the Hannover Messe trade fair, adding the world’s second-largest carmaker was also working through high order intake in Europe.
“The only thing that is currently limiting and slowing down this recovery is the critical supply situation worldwide with regard to various semiconductor types,” Diess said. Diess’ remarks came a day after U.S. peer Ford Motor Co outlined another series of plant shutdowns due to the shortage, with five facilities in the United States and one in Turkey affected.
An air quality lobbying group led by an MP has called on the government to introduce stricter MOT testing for diesel particulate filters (DPFs) in order to reduce emissions. At present, MOT testers only have to check for the presence of a DPF. However, the Westminster Commission for Road Air Quality says this is not good enough, pointing out that if the filter is damaged, particles will be emitted with reduced filtration. This could result in much higher particulate emissions.
The group – founded by Barry Sheerman, Labour MP for Huddersfield – cited research from Holland, which estimated 10 percent of diesel cars have damaged, faulty, tampered with or unlawfully removed DPF filters. Members of the group include Renault Trucks UK, Siemens Mobility and the City of London Corporation. Based on this data, the introduction of diesel particulate filter testing during MOTs could reduce PM2.5 particles in the UK by 1,000 tonnes per year, the group said.
Sascron Car Supermarkets has appointed Aston Barclay as its new remarketing partner. The family run business with sites in Aldermaston near Reading and Thatcham in Berkshire will be launching the partnership at Aston Barclay Chelmsford’s dealer sale on the 19 April.
One hundred cars will go to auctions as part of its inaugural sale with total Sascron volumes going through Chelmsford expected to hit the 1,000-mark during 2021. “We are a family company who have built our business up since the 1990s through a combination of reliability, quality and honesty. It was good to find a remarketing partner that mirrors these values,” explained Kim Chodha, owner of Berkshire-based dealer Sascron.
Dealers are focusing on Euro 5 and 6 vans at auction with their combined prices now 49% higher than they were a year ago. Manheim said that 15% of all vans sold at auction in March went to retailers, which is a stark contrast to the sub 5% figure that was seen before the pandemic. “We can clearly see that retailers have snapped up the best used vans from auction to fill up forecourts, ready for showroom re-openings,” said James Davis, customer insight director at Cox Automotive.
Davis said the latest results showed the used van market is back in full swing. “We predicted in quarter four of 2020 that the first quarter of 2021 would see single digit percentage increases in Euro 6 sales figures and that Euro 5 figures would plateau. These numbers prove our estimates were accurate. Putting this into perspective, the combined Euro 5 and Euro 6 average selling van values in March 2021 were 49% higher than March 2020, and 51% ahead of the same time in 2019.”
Used car average values at BCA kept above £8,000 in March as its online sales programme saw record buyer activity ahead of showrooms reopening. The auctioneer said the £8,039 average price maintained the steady performance seen during recent months, with sold volumes rising significantly versus January and February. They’re now comparable to pre-pandemic levels and activity is likely to increase further over the coming weeks, it added.
Bidder numbers were at their highest since the pandemic began, with average daily online attendance numbers climbing to 5,000. It coincided with BCA continuing to refine and upgrade its digital sales programme.
Shell has revealed more details about its planned global rollout of EV charging stations. In the UK, Shell will be installing a total of 5,000 charging stations by 2025. Shell recently announced that it plans to increase the number of charging points worldwide from 60,000 to 500,000 by 2025.
In an interview with UK Investor, Sinead Lynch, head of Shell in the UK, revealed that Shell plans to double the current number of charging stations on the British Isles. This now stands at 100 charging stations with 50 or 150 kW and should be doubled by the end of 2021. By 2025, Shell aims to install an average of one to two DC charging stations at each of 500 of its British petrol stations, while increasing the number and size of charging parks along motorways.
Many refuelling and charging sites will remain “hybrid models for decades”, according to Lynch, but she said that Shell is also considering stopping the sale of petrol altogether at some sites. Shell is designing “the petrol station of the future”, including cafés and parcel collection services. At the same time, the fast-charging network will not be limited to petrol station sites: “We’re also wanting to step into that ‘destination charging’ space with the rapid and ultra-rapid . . . so you could see them in the car parks of supermarkets,” Lynch told UK Investor. Shell is also focusing on AC chargers in the UK market. Shell acquired 2,700 on-street charging points in the UK with the takeover of the Berlin-based charging infrastructure specialist Ubitricity.
New vehicle uptake is crucial to the UK reaching its emission reduction goals, as older, less efficient cars are taken off the road and replaced by the latest lower emission ones, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Research shows that the average new car in 2020 emitted -21.7% less CO2 than its 2010 counterpart, helping the country and the industry meet their respective climate change targets.
As showrooms reopen their doors this week, the SMMT says consumers will be greeted by a vast choice of the cleanest ever vehicles to suit their needs. The latest analysis reveals that there are now 462 individual car models available in around 4,650 standard specifications augmented by an almost infinite number of options. With the widest ever choice of zero-emission cars – accounting for one in three available models – the SMMT says consumers will have a near limitless choice of mobility options as lockdown restrictions are eased. Now, they will also be able to tap directly into dealer expertise to identify the vehicle, power source and specification best suited for their needs.