The motor industry in Ireland has been badly affected by COVID-19, but as it opens in earnest there are some positives that can help make up for the dramatic losses in new car sales in March and April.

 

 

Positive news from the east

Car sales in China are higher than had been predicted as consumers look to purchase cars over using public transport. Since showrooms opened again in early April footfall has returned to circa 66% of normal capacity.

 

A buyers market

Google Trends saw search interest for “it’s a good time to buy a car” grow by nine times between January and February and March and April 2020. Savvy shoppers have turned to digital to compare price and models as value matters more than ever.

 

Online sales

18% of motor shoppers said they would buy a car sooner if they didn’t have to go to the dealership. A China Beats insights study suggests those manufacturers that have a digital footprint with the ability to view, order and personalise car choice online saw a payoff during lockdown.

 

A driving experience without leaving your home

People still want to engage with their new car but in some cases without the anxiety of having to go to a dealership. Hyundai unveiled it’s 2021 Elantra in early March through a live stream with over 800,000 views. We’re seeing the evolution of VR test drives and digital showrooms in other markets, is Ireland ready for this?

 

Shared mobility

Ipsos data from China in early March showed the attitude to the usage of personal / private cars doubled after the outbreak, while reliance on public transport fell more than half. Of those surveyed in China who don’t own a car, most responded that they intended to purchase a vehicle for health and safety reasons.

 

The future success of the motor industry will not only be about performance, power source and style but also about new shopping experiences and the health and safety of the consumer.  
 

Source: SIMI, Google Trends, Ipsos, China Passenger Car Association, China Beats

 

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