As dealerships were forced to shut down their showrooms, auction lanes closed, jobless claims peaked, and car sales fell off a cliff in April, the industry was laser-focused on consumer demand. Fortunately, May brought incentives, stimulus checks, and pent-up demand, which drove consumers back to dealership lots. However, because inventory has not been replenished, the industry’s problem has shifted from demand to supply.
Since coronavirus first emerged in the US, we’ve been there to support our dealer customers and provide analysis on trends and strategies for getting back to business — and the industry is taking note. Below are recent news stories that feature CarGurus insights and marketing tips.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a sweeping impact on the economy. Almost overnight, it brought businesses across the country to a near halt, resulting in a record number of jobless claims and a recession unlike any other.
In this presentation, I’ll take a look at many of the unique factors—decreased consumer confidence, supply chain disruption, and increasing pent-up demand—that continue to make this COVID-19-driven economic downturn so unique. I’ll also cover how the recession continues to evolve and what it means for the auto industry.
2020 has been a year of change for all of us, and CarGurus is no exception. As of July 1, we will be making updates to our free Restricted product to provide more connections and a better ROI for our paying customers.
As we posted here, CarGurus suspended the free Restricted (formerly “Basic”) listings program during the COVID-19 crisis to better accommodate shoppers and provide a strong return on investment to paying CarGurus customers.
With dealerships across the country resuming business, we’re preparing to retire the suspended status. All dealers in suspended status will receive their queued leads on 6/30.
We’re also making additional changes to the Restricted program.
Not only were vehicle sales in May up from April, they were better than expected—a welcome surprise for the automotive sector. The increased sales numbers came after COVID-19 caused dealership closures, a shift to online sales and appointments, declining confidence in job security, and one of the largest stimulus programs in the history of the US. And while many view these sales results as a leading indicator of growth in the sector, the better-than-expected sales numbers were more likely a result of pent-up demand and market tailwinds.
Below, I’ll dive into the five tailwinds propelling sales numbers the most.
It’s that time of year again — time to reveal the winners of this year’s CarGurus Best Used Car Awards. The full details are in the linked press release, but here’s the list of winners:
The awards are based on several factors, including reviews from CarGurus experts and users, popularity and availability, and long-term depreciation rates. This year’s winners aren’t only great vehicles, they’re also popular, widely available, and hold their value well.
Pent-up demand, stimulus checks, and the hope that we are past wave one of COVID-19 has spurred the recovery of US leads on CarGurus. Total lead volume is now above early-February levels.
However, not every sector of the vehicle market has seen the same recovery. For example, we know that demand for higher-priced vehicles has returned quicker than lower-priced vehicles, but each vehicle segment has behaved differently. Most notably, the electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) segments.
Our product teams have been working hard to improve CarGurus’ financing feature, the latest way we’re helping you connect with low-funnel shoppers. With the improved financing feature, shoppers are able to prequalify for financing with lenders you already work with right from the VDP. Some reasons you’ll want to use the financing feature are:
As states begin to reopen and CarGurus leads trend upward again, it seems we might be through the trough. These signs indicate that the US might soon emerge from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we must be cautiously optimistic because it’s unlikely that the unemployment rate has reached its peak or that we are fully in recovery mode. And for the auto industry, there is an additional headwind on the horizon: credit availability.
While demand for vehicles is growing—US lead volume on CarGurus has nearly returned to the same level as February—the sales bounce back in the auto market may be tempered by the availability of credit.