The last quarter of the year has always traditionally been the hardest in the world of car retailing. The job peaks in September then goes away for a little rest before coming out to play again in January.
The truth is car dealers really ought to have made the profit they need to hit their budgets by now because if they haven’t, well they are probably not going to.
The market however is nothing if unpredictable and having spent the best part of 2 years defying the recession and with many dealer groups reckoned to be posting record profits the fact that there is doom and despondency, cuts and austerity means yet another challenge for the automotive industry.
Battle hardened it may be but insiders are predicting big cost savings will be made in 2011 and we know what that usually means, redundancies.
It is to be hoped that there are enough buying customers about early next year and if we don’t have disastrous weather at the start, like we did last year, we might get off to a flyer.
Although there might not be the buying frenzy seen with 4wd cars as of last year there is already a feeling that buyers are tentatively looking to change for a land tank just in case they get stuck in snow.
Ironically, with fewer customers around at present, you would think that cars would be cheaper and although values have dropped on run of the mill ex-lease cars it certainly hasn’t with anything a bit unusual or with higher spec.
Many new car buyers are looking at the VAT rise as a reason to pull forward their purchase and that may leave a large unpleasant black hole in the figures for early 2011.
If we are not to witness that black hole transform into the supermassive variety dealers and manufacturers will need to work harder than ever to get the public parting with their precious pound.