Motor dealers in Swindon are expecting a rush of customers when car showrooms reopen to the public after lockdown.
March is traditionally the busiest month of the year for motor dealers, with the desire for the newest registration plate driving demand.
This year, as last, the period could be interrupted by lockdown. But motor dealers are expecting to be busy once customers can return to showrooms.
"I think April will be the new March," said Dominic Threlfall, managing director of Hyundai and Suzuki dealer Pebley Beach in Swindon and Cirencester.
"There's a lot of pent-up demand, although we've still been selling cars during lockdown through our home delivery scheme.
"Interestingly, over 93 percent of our new car sales in 2021 have been to existing Pebley Beach customers who are upgrading their existing car, love the cars offered by our manufacturers, and enjoy the Pebley motoring experience.
"What we – and every other motor dealer in Swindon – are missing is customers who like to check out different brands.
"Understandably, many motorists are reluctant to commit to a new car before taking it for a test drive – or at least sitting behind the wheel – and trying out a few options."
Dom's thoughts are mirrored by a nationwide survey by online car supermarket BuyaCar.co.uk, which found that commuters will choose their own car over public transport as the simplest way to ensure effective social distancing.
The survey suggests a 45 percent boom in car sales when restrictions are lifted.
With demand anticipated to be high, Dom is recommending people looking to get a new car soon after lockdown secure it with a deposit reservation fee. Pebley’s reservation scheme, for instance, is £99 – and fully refundable.
Much of the interest in 2021 is around electric vehicles, and as Swindon's leading dealer in EVs Dom anticipates a very busy April – especially with the unveiling of the new all-electric Hyundai IONIQ 5 scheduled for February 23.
"It will be the challenger brands such as Hyundai and Suzuki that will see disproportionate interest, purely because of the green revolution and our ability to serve them immediately from stock," said Dom.