Many sales people will have been celebrating the end of a successful September campaign with a pint or two or three. Most franchised dealers seemed to have had a somewhat positive result and even the premium brands, which have not had scrappage to rely on, have fared reasonably well.
So successful for some car makers has the scrappage scheme been that there was talk of some manufacturers introducing their own scrappage scheme if the government failed to continue with the official one, which clearly shows how important this incentive has been to the UK motor trade.
Instead of battening down the hatches and weathering the notoriously difficult last quarter there may still be some positive sales news around and it could also prove to be a fairly hectic last quarter. With VAT set to go back to 17.5% in January, does it mean there will be a race to buy cars this side of the year end and will dealers buy more ‘qualifying’ cars at 15% and take advantage of the uplift by using the saving as a consumer offer?
The answer is probably yes to both questions but it will certainly be important to the business as a whole and customer confidence that dealers and car makers continue working together to incentivise buyers to purchase cars. So watch out for all sorts of promotions and special offers before year end.
Once such deal recently announced would have been inconceivable less than twelve months ago, but as we predicted it has finally happened. A well known Ford franchise group is offering buyers, who bought their car after June 2007 and before December 2008, a guarantee (subject to certain terms and conditions and for a limited time) that they will give them their money back against a new car. Yes you did read that correctly. They will give the customer back exactly what they originally paid for their car when they trade it in against a new one. Now that is a good deal! Although they will almost certainly have to pay more for their new car, it is unheard of a customer to get back what they paid.
It just goes to show what a crazy year this has been.