Covid-19 has been devastating for the automotive sector, with UK new car sales in April dropping to figures not seen since 1946. Just 871 cars were sold to retail customers during the month, the remaining 3,500 going to fleet and business buyers.
With car showrooms shut during the month and people restricted to essential travel only, these figures are hardly surprising. The sector is hoping for a rapid recovery once showrooms reopen. There is a fear, though, that with recession looming, people will be reluctant to commit to buying a car, just as they were after the 2008 recession.
One Cardiff-based software company, however, is offering a solution that could be a lifeline for car dealerships. Instead of the traditional models of car ownership or long-term leases, Wagonex provides a car subscription service, with lengths of contract running from as little as a month to up to two years.
Customers can take out a subscription online, and have a wide range of vehicles and subscription options to choose from. It’s a very flexible service too, with customers able to change their cars and alter the length of their subscription. The fee includes insurance, and cars are delivered to the customer’s door.
Birth of the concept
Wagonex’s subscription concept was created before the pandemic by a company of creative and innovative young thinkers, who questioned why it was necessary to take on the financial commitment of ownership or a long lease to have a car. But the idea could prove more popular now with a wider driving public, in the current climate of financial uncertainty and nervousness about using public transport.
Recognising the anxieties of the moment, Wagonex is offering its online subscription service free to dealerships and manufacturers for three months, in the hope that it will boost business for the troubled sector. Not only could this add another dimension to the service dealerships provide, by allowing customers to buy subscriptions online it could also help overcome issues around social distancing.
It’s certain the next few months will prove challenging for the automotive sector. By helping car dealerships and manufacturers provide an alternative, flexible and easy to use service to customers, and one which reduces their worries about taking on large financial commitments, Wagonex could just save their businesses.
Toby Kernon, CEO and Founder of Wagonex, said:
“We’re looking forward to working with businesses across the country and helping to get their vehicles up and running. We’re doing everything that we can to help businesses to get back on their feet by offering this support.”
Nathaniel Cars said:
“The initiative is absolutely fantastic. Having an additional product which sits between renting and owning, and offers our customers complete flexibility, is exactly what the industry has been looking for.”