Sean Kelly, managing director of Vines, a family-owned BMW and Mini dealer group, described September as “nuts” and reported that in the early weeks of the month, sales were running up 30% year on year.
So why the contradiction? Neither manufacturers nor retailers are keen to talk about this, but it’s clear that two factors came into play later in September.
Firstly, due to factory shutdowns and manpower restrictions caused by social distancing even in operational factories, there was a stock shortage. Secondly, as a result of that shortage, manufacturers largely (but not entirely) took the decision not to force registrations into the market through profit-eating pre-registration activity (where a new car is registered as a sale but then sold at a discount later on as a nearly new model) and short-term rental activity.
After all, why force volumes at low-to-non-existent profit margins when there’s no pressure from the factories