When the recession hit in 2008 the motor industry was one of the hardest hit industries in the UK. There was such concern for the motor trade that the government had to intervene and offer incentives to consumers to try and get the whole industry moving again. The scheme that worked well was the scrappage scheme. The UK government can take pride in the aid that they gave to the motor industry and the overall result for the motor trade.
The previous recession also acted as a wake up call to the industry as a whole. Car dealerships realised that they couldn't just rely on customers walking into their dealerships and buying cars. They needed to actively entice these customers to part with their cash by providing offers and deals that the consumers simply couldn't resist.
Highly attractive car finance packages were one such product that was devised by dealerships. Some manufacturers were supporting their franchise dealerships to the point where they would offer true 0% interest finance. In effect, this gave consumers the lower payments they needed to be able to afford new and used cars in a recession.
Now, with the double dip recession it seems that the motor industry has learnt from their mistakes. They are now offering a wide range of offers on both the products they sell and the finance that they provide. This year the motor industry is still thriving, despite the economic unrest.
One area that the motor industry has still not developed well enough is their online offerings. Manufacturers are now placing a lot of emphasis on the web, as our main franchised dealers; however, there are still a lot of mid to small size dealers that are struggling. The staggering fact is that 92% of consumers now research their car online, before they will even physically start looking at cars.
Finance is a hugely important factor for consumers buying cars. Most consumers are still unable to afford to buy a car outright and therefore have to look for alternative means to finance a vehicle. Third party car finance sites specialise in the finance aspect of the buying cycle and are able to help consumers find the best deals for their next car.
While dealers are slowly catching up with the technology that is available to promote their stock, the finance sites are busy finding new and engaging ways for consumers to fully understand finance and the different products that are available them.
For instance, car leasing products are gaining popularity. In particular, Personal Contract Purchase is proving a popular alternative to Hire Purchase with consumers. This is because it provides lower monthly payments throughout the term of the agreement with a balloon payment to make at the end of the agreement.
While dealers often have the facility to offer PCP, the education of the consumer often comes from other areas such as specialist car finance and leasing sites. The internet is a powerful tool for consumers to understand their options to ensure they can find the best finance deals.