Are people happy to buy cars without taking test drives?

LK: “We see that, yes. If I go back to our Care by Volvo, we achieve 90% conquest sales. Only a small percentage are going to the dealer for a test drive. Instead, they go into the dealer to pick up the car. So they enter a dealership yet feel comfortable enough to subscribe to that car without a test drive. But it could also depend on the make; I think Volvo is a rather trustworthy brand.”

DG: “I think it will vary depending on the commitment that customer is making.”

Do huge dealer showrooms still have a future?

DG: “I think you’re going to get consolidation. There are [around] 40 manufacturers [selling cars] in the UK. As an operator, that isn’t sustainable. So I think we will see consolidation at manufacturer level. We’ve seen that recently, with PSA acquiring Opel [and Vauxhall] and then merging with FCA [to form Stellantis].

“There will be a rationalisation of the number of retail points as well. Volvo is a great example. There are around 96 or 97 Volvo retailers in the UK. If you look at some of the other premium brands, like Mercedes or Audi, they operate with around 110 or 120 retailers in the UK. But if you look at some of the other brands, particularly some of the volume manufacturers, they have double the network size, despite the fact that market shares are probably less than some of those premium makes. So you will see a natural reduction in the number of retailers. However, while the number of retailers is rationalised, throughput per site will go up. Therefore you will need these bigger sites.”

Are online platforms like Cazoo and Cinch pioneering a simpler, digital way of selling cars?

MW: “From a consumer perspective, I can see that perhaps some of these disruptors do add real value, because what they’re looking to do is take some of these frictions in the car-buying experience and turn it on its head. But from a retail perspective, I think it’s about understanding each platform individually and what they bring.