Second lockdown sparks rise of buying and selling cars online

LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·2 min read
New cars are pictured at a car dealership
As bricks-and-mortar car dealers were forced to close showroom doors again this November, online car supermarket BuyaCar.co.uk said it saw an immediate response from motorists looking to purchase a new vehicle. Photo: REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

Closing the UK economy for a second time to curb the rise of coronavirus infections has caused an increase in the number of cars being bought and sold online, according to new data.

As bricks-and-mortar car dealers were forced to close showroom doors again this November, online car supermarket BuyaCar.co.uk said it saw an immediate response from motorists looking to purchase a new vehicle.

It also reported a surge in dealers desperate to sell cars by supplying the site with stock.

BuyaCar said that in the first seven days of new lockdown restrictions in England, it saw a 120% increase in cars reserved for purchase and a 81% rise in applications to finance a car purchase.

In addition to this, the normal rate of motorists signing up for a BuyaCar account jumped by 31%, while traffic to the site rose by almost a tenth.

In the first week of the second lockdown, an extra 1,100 cars were added to available stock.

BuyaCar said that the rush to buy and sell cars online reflects a confident market held back by coronavirus measures. When Britain's nationwide lockdown ended in the summer an unprecedented increase in consumer demand saw all car sellers struggling to keep up, it said.

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Andy Oldham, chief executive, said: “Despite the economic uncertainties caused by the coronavirus crisis there is still a strong general appetite for good quality used cars in particular, so it's no surprise that demand is shifting online as dealers are once again forced to close their doors.

"Just as we did during the first national lockdown we are seeing that consumers are increasingly comfortable to receive a car they have only seen on-screen, provided it carries a money back guarantee and is delivered to them cleanly and safely.

"And the latest lockdown is actually increasing the choice available to motorists on our site because it is encouraging more dealers to make stock available to us that they can't sell off the forecourt.

"The latest lockdown effect reveals that motorists and dealers alike are determined to push through this latest market disruption rather than wait indefinitely for life to return to normal."

It comes as the UK new car market just had its weakest October since 2011.

According to the latest figures published last week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the industry recorded 140,945 new registrations last month, a drop of 1.6% year-on-year. This is also 10.1% lower than the average recorded over the last 10 years.

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