IGA News

Major factors affecting the independent sector: Changes in car buying habits

Major factors affecting the independent sector: Changes in car buying habits

31 October 2019

The IGA is releasing a series of bulletin articles detailing factors affecting the independent motor industry in today’s modern age. This time, we’re discussing the changes in the buying landscape and how younger generations are influencing this shift.

Anyone that has been involved in this great industry of ours for any length of time will understand that it never stands still; it adapts and changes to cater for the demands of its customers.

We all know that vehicles are becoming more expensive and are largely beyond the reach of many when it comes to buying them outright. We are seeing an array of solutions to this from most manufacturers, many resulting in the customer not owning the vehicle, but simply going from lease to lease.

For the manufacturer, finance or lease company who remains the owner of the vehicle, such arrangements enable them greater control of the after sales life of these vehicles, which clearly impacts the independent sector.

However, such arrangements typically don’t last forever and at some point, these once-leased vehicles make their way into private ownership on the used car market. These vehicles will have full service histories and their new owners are likely to wish to maintain their vehicle’s history to protect the value of their asset, and the independent garage is well placed to provide a cost-effective solution to this.

We are also seeing the inevitable shift in the driver demographic as young people join the motoring public. The shift in consumer habits has leant towards convenience and an easier way of life, thanks in part to the advent of next day delivery services from online retailers.

Drivers today have a preference towards local servicing solutions, even if their vehicles are leased. It is likely that the manufacturer, finance or lease company who remain the owners of the vehicles will adapt to meet the needs of their customers.

Professional, independent garages, that are well equipped and have trained staff, can provide a local, convenient solution for manufacturers to ensure these leased vehicles are properly serviced and maintained, whilst catering for their changing customer base.

It is also worth noting at this point that the independent garage will also need to change and adapt to meet the needs of these new vehicle users. A clear, clean online presence will be a must. It is also vital to be aware that one poor online review can have a far-reaching impact and affect a customer more than ten positive ones – therefore customer care will be paramount, and a garage’s online profile will need to be given the same attention as how nice the reception area is.

The IGA’s consumer code scheme Trust My Garage (TMG) provides an effective solution for independents wishing to demonstrate their quality and improve their online presence. TMG is available exclusively as a benefit of IGA membership. For more information, visit TrustMyGarage.co.uk or call the member helpline on 0845 305 4230.