Brands, retailers boosting new car stock visibility through digital showrooms, finds Auto Trader

Consumer interest in brand new cars remains strong despite challenges in the new car market, according to Auto Trader.

The online marketplace reported a 22% year-on-year (YoY) increase in new car visits for May so far, slightly up from the 21% increase recorded in April, marking the highest rate of YoY growth in over a year.

This performance is partly driven by improved availability of new car stock, particularly new electric vehicles, and greater affordability, as highlighted by Auto Trader’s latest data. The volume of advertised brand-new cars on the platform has surged by 41% since last summer, with a 17% increase in the past five months alone.

As brands aim to boost demand to match increased production levels, consumers are benefitting from improved affordability of brand-new cars.

More than half (53%) of all new car models advertised on Auto Trader have seen a gradual price reduction over the last 12 months, with some models dropping by up to 20%.

Around 70% of new electric models are now cheaper than they were last year.

Additionally, the best-performing brands and new car retailers on Auto Trader are enhancing their digital showrooms to attract the circa 2 million monthly visitors who use the marketplace to research their next new car.

Tesla, for example, recently introduced enhanced imagery in its adverts, which almost doubled the volume of advert views within 48 hours, propelling both Tesla and the Model 3 into May’s top 10 fastest-growing brands and models.

BMW currently leads in generating consumer inquiries, with a 16.9% share, while CUPRA recorded the largest growth this month, with its share of inquiries rising by approximately 2% since April. SEAT follows as the second biggest mover with a 1.1% month-on-month (MoM) increase.

In the electric vehicle (EV) segment, Renault has seen the most significant growth in May, with its share of new EV inquiries rising by 2.6% MoM, outpacing Volvo, which saw a 1.5% increase. Brands experiencing the largest decline in interest for EVs include Ford (-2.7%), Audi (-2.5%), and Vauxhall (-1.5%).

At the model level, the Land Rover Defender 110 remains the most in-demand new car on Auto Trader for the third consecutive month, generating the largest share of inquiries (4%). However, the CUPRA Formentor, a compact SUV, has shown the most significant growth in demand, with a 1% MoM increase in leads.

For new electric models, Hyundai’s IONIQ 5 is generating the most interest, accounting for 5.7% of all new electric inquiries. It is followed by the MG-4 (5.2%), Peugeot’s E-208 (4.7%), and E-2008 (4.6%). Notably, the Peugeot E-2008 has seen the largest growth in demand this month, with a 2.6% increase in the share of new EV inquiries.

Bex Kennett, Auto Trader’s new car performance director, commented: “Despite a subdued post-plate-change April, we’re seeing very robust levels of engagement on our platform. Given its scale, which generates six times more searches than Google, it offers a promising view of what’s likely to flow into the new car market in the coming weeks and months.

“It also highlights how the best-performing brands and retailers are responding to current challenges. As well as taking more of their stock out of hiding, they’re investing more in their digital showrooms, ensuring their brand-new cars stand out in an increasingly competitive and crowded market, generating more inquiries as a result.”

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Most in demand new car electric models on Auto Trader in May ranked by enquiries

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