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CONSUMER appetite for motor finance is remaining strong through the initial stage of the new lockdown according to Startline Motor Finance.

The company said that the amount of business it has written in January so far is in excess of the same period in 2020 and, last week, it saw its busiest single day for new proposals ever.

Chief Executive Paul Burgess said: “We are starting to see reports that the overall used car market is about 50% down but our experience is that different dealers are having very different experiences. Some are doing much better than others.

“Of course, there is the possibility that we are, so far, seeing some deals being written that are carried over from the pre-lockdown period but there are also strong anecdotal indications that people are continuing to buy used cars in number.”

Burgess said that Startline stood by its recent assertions that dealers who had made their click-and-deliver and click-and-collect processes as easy to use as possible were performing best.

“It’s not a magic wand to have a strong online process but without one, it is next to impossible for most dealers to trade successfully at the moment.

“Importantly, we believe that the quality of the online journey being created is becoming more important. Once a customer has decided to buy a car, the entire purchasing process including motor finance has to be as painless as possible. No-one wants to spend hours filling in online forms. Everything needs to be fast and slick.”

The remainder of the lockdown period was difficult to predict, he added, but the same principles would almost certainly apply.

“The question is whether consumer appetites for buying used cars will diminish and obviously the lockdown doesn’t help but the effects of the pandemic on the finances of individuals have, so far, been extremely variable. Some have been hit hard, others not at all.

“It’s important to make it as easy as possible for those people who have disposable income and a desire to buy a car to complete their purchase.”

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