The reopening of car showrooms this week is significant, not just for the industry, but also for buyers and early indications are that there is pent up demand in the market with consumers attracted by the increasing range of new cars now available. Choosing a car and its configuration has always been an exciting experience and one that cannot be replicated easily digitally, despite online channels proving their worth in recent months.
Motorists – who have been visiting showrooms in high numbers since Monday – can now tap directly into dealer expertise to identify the vehicle, power source and specification best suited for their needs. New SMMT analysis this week revealed that there are around 460 models and 4,650 standard specifications on offer today, with an almost infinite number of options to pick from. Moreover, consumers will also be able to choose from the widest ever choice of zero-emission vehicles with one in three available models harnessing greener technology, and getting more of these onto our roads will be vital to the UK meeting its emission reduction goals.
We hope that showrooms reopening their doors will see the sector on the road to recovery helping protect the jobs, and livelihoods, of the 864,000 automotive workers nationwide, not just in retail but across the industry. The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the automotive sector, with £22.2 billion in lost turnover alone, so as lockdown lifts and confidence, hopefully, returns to the market we can look to the immediate future with renewed optimism.
In other news, registrations are open for SMMT’s International Automotive Summit 2021, which we hope to run as a hybrid event with a limited audience in attendance in London, with many more joining digitally. This year’s agenda will address key areas of transformation affecting the industry including competitiveness, new trading arrangements with Europe, the business opportunities presented by the electrification of vehicles, future skills requirements, and the digitalisation of the supply chain.
I’m delighted to announce that we will be joined by Thierry Bolloré, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover and Michael Cole, President and Chief Executive, Hyundai Motor Europe who will be delivering keynote speeches. SMMT members are eligible for a complimentary ticket to the event and non-SMMT members can also purchase them. For information on tickets, sponsorship opportunities and to register, please contact our events team by email at SMMTSummit@smmt.co.uk.