New York, NY, 05.08.2020

Fewer auto intenders are saying they plan to delay purchase, lease of a new car

New insights from GfK AutoMobility™ show that consumers are slowly gaining back their car-buying confidence.

Auto “intenders” – consumers who plan to buy or lease a new car – are the life blood of the car industry; and since April, the proportion of intenders who plan to delay their auto spending has fallen 9 percentage points, from 48% to 39%.

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At the same, 44% of intenders report that COVID-19 will have “no impact” on their plans, up from 35% in April and holding steady through July. The June data marked the first time in three months that the “no impact” figure was higher than the “delay” tally.

GfK AutoMobility™ collects data throughout the year among actual vehicle intenders – those who plan to buy or lease a new car – conducting roughly 25,000 interviews every month. Since March, the AutoMobility survey has included questions about the effects of the Coronavirus crisis, with the latest data representing responses through the end of July.

Overall, Luxury vehicle intenders are more likely to say they will delay a purchase or lease (45%), and less likely to report that the virus will have no effect (33%). But those numbers have also shifted since April, with Luxury delayers becoming less common and “no impact” Lux intenders more so.

Auto manufacturers have been aggressively deploying a variety of special offers to entice wary buyers, and GfK’s data shows that some are working. Four in ten (41%) intenders say that 0% interest for the full length of the purchase contract convinced them to take a fresh look at the possibility. Non-Luxury intenders were much more likely to be swayed by this offer than Luxury (44% versus 33%).

Other popular offers that have helped to inspire intenders include

  • Free maintenance – 32% of all intenders
  • No payments for the first few months – 30%
  • Employee pricing/discount – 27%

“While intender confidence may be returning more slowly than the industry would hope, we do see it growing,” said Julie Kenar, SVP (Consulting) on GfK’s AutoMobility team. “The fact that purchase plans held steady despite a new round of discouraging stories about the virus is surely a sign of resolve. Manufacturers and dealers are holding nothing back as they attempt to nurture intender confidence and gradually bring the business back to some kind of normalcy. We may find, however, that the shift to online resources and other innovative approaches will remain permanent to some degree.”

To find out how AutoMobility research can benefit your brand, contact Julie Kenar

GfK AutoMobility is the leading Auto Intenders Brand and Attitude Insights research in the US – revealing how consumers perceive brands, how they compare to their competitive sets, and – more importantly – why consumers feel this way. Since 1982, GfK’s Automotive Purchase Funnel has been the bedrock for analysis and insights throughout the automotive industry.

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