New car enquiries have dropped by 17.4% year-on-year in Q1, according to new data from automotive showroom management provider, Dealerweb.
This is the second successive quarter of declining new car leads, following a 30.1% fall, year-on-year, from October to December 2022.
However, conversion rates remain strong, with orders resulting from new car enquiries dropping by only 1% in the first quarter of 2023, buoyed by an 8% uplift in March.
Dealerweb, which is part of CitNOW Group, also reports that demand for used cars remains robust, with enquiries up 5.2% in Q1.
A greater percentage of used car leads are being converted too, up 12% year-on-year.
Steve Thomas, sales director at Dealerweb, said: “The SMMT has highlighted how fleet demand has driven registrations over recent months, and that is echoed in our dealer enquiry data.
“With fewer retail enquiries than in previous years dealers need to make the most of every lead they receive, using all of the tools at their disposal to respond to enquiries as quickly and effectively as possible.”
CitNOW Group research highlights the importance of response times, with a quarter (24%) of consumers saying they would expect a dealer to respond within 30 minutes of an initial enquiry.
Two thirds (65%) of consumers would expect a dealership to respond to them via the same method of communication as they used.