From sales assistants having little or no knowledge of ADAS, to an actual shortage of cars in the UK - it’s safe to say, that buying a car is proving very difficult at present. Steph Garner, Sales and Marketing Manager for Moshon Data Ltd, shares her recent car-buying experience.
Recently, my husband and I took it upon ourselves to go and view some cars, as the lease on our financed car is up next month. With an expanding family and a dog, we are in desperate need of something a little bigger than our current Nissan Qashqai.
My father used to work at a Skoda dealership so we thought that would be a great place to start and headed off to take a look at the Skoda Kodiaq and Skoda Karoq.
Having arrived at the forecourt, the first thing that struck us was how empty it was; there were few cars for sale and many of the second-hand ones were marked as ‘sold’. As a result, we were left looking at diesels. Speaking with the sales assistant, he explained that all car dealerships were currently struggling with stock as a direct result of COVID-19 and Brexit.
In his opinion, many people have found themselves in a position where they are now able to purchase a new car. Indeed, it comes as no surprise that many of us have been able to squirrel away savings as a result of national lockdowns. Whilst this is great for the economy, it’s proving less great for those who wish to purchase second-hand and now have to hang-tight and wait for people to trade their cars in.
Walking around the forecourt, viewing mostly diesels, we came to the decision that we wanted the bigger 7-seater automatic car and the Kodiaq had everything we wanted. However, when I questioned the salesman as to which ADAS features the Kodiaq has... his mind went completely blank.
It struck me that this man had literally no knowledge of ADAS. Instead, he kept changing the conversation back to the ‘basics’ sounding more and more like he had just swallowed the spec sheet. This let me to question, why aren’t salespeople who work at car dealerships taught about ADAS? Featured on new cars, and on many second-hand ones, surely ADAS should be a common talking point on the forecourt?
I was impressed however, that he managed to get the word “radar” in. Less impressed that I wasn’t able to use abbreviations with him - instead of AEB, I had to say, ‘Automatic Emergency Braking’. This experience certainly highlighted the fact that dealerships are not actively promoting ADAS features to the public. In which case, it’s no wonder that when a customer comes to drive their car, they have no idea how any of it works.
Should this not be a selling point? Should car sales assistants not be informing customers of the safety features they could potentially be getting with their new car? Should it not be mandatory that salesmen are taught about ADAS?
It appears that in this current climate, buying second-hand simply isn’t going to work for us. We have found ourselves in a predicament where we either give in and buy a diesel, which we simply do not want, or sit back and wait for the car that we do want to become available.
Leaving us to consider the option of buying brand new and straight off the production line, we were in informed that production lead times are currently running at 4 months - 4 months! Our previous Nissan took only three weeks.
Back to the drawing board. I think we are facing the looming reality that come next month, we won’t have a car to transport our daughter to our frequent hospital trips and will have to rely on family members to take us instead. Not ideal.
This ‘non’ car buying experience has certainly left me asking many questions. Is all of this a direct result of the global pandemic and Brexit? Are lengthy lead times a production issue? Have dealerships not been prudent enough to predict a surge in demand?
What I do know though, is if you are considering buying a car in the near future – I’d certainly recommend that you start looking now.