Car Retailing - UK - August 2011
“The huge number of price comparison websites is influencing the way consumers shop for all kinds of products, with it becoming common practice to compare prices online before choosing where to buy. Car dealerships are not immune to this shopping around, as over a third of adults would compare prices online before choosing which dealership to buy a car from. The bricks and mortar dealership faces little competition for consumers cash from internet sites at present, however, as under one in ten would choose to go online and buy a car directly from a car manufacturer.”
– Michelle Strutton, Senior Consumer Analyst
This report investigates the retailing of cars to private individuals, and therefore excludes sales to businesses or operators of company car fleets. It is exclusively focused on cars, and therefore excludes any discussion of the market for light commercial or other goods vehicles. The retailing of cars takes place through the following distribution channels:
- Franchised new car dealers – those under contract to specific car manufacturers or importers
- Multi-franchise new car dealers – those with contracts that enable them to sell the products of more than one manufacturer (NB throughout this report, diverse franchises trading from a single location are counted separately)
- Independents – dealers that sell used vehicles from various manufacturers, some of which specialise in nearly-new or pre-registered cars
- Second-hand dealers – those selling any make of used car, of any age
- Automotive auctions – these are mainly used by motor dealers to buy their own stock, but some private individuals also buy through auctions
- Car supermarkets – large, out-of-town retail sites selling a wide variety of new, nearly-new, pre-registered and imported cars.
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