Car dealers could be set a Christmas sales bonanza as frustrated consumers splash the cash on new vehicles, according to the boss of Vertu Motors.

Robert Forrester said the company had seen a “sales rebound far exceeding what I thought was possible” after dealerships were forced to closed for more than two months because of the pandemic.

In the six months to the end of August, Vertu reported revenues a third lower at £1.1bn and pre-tax profits down 75pc to £3.9bn. The number of cars sold fell by 68pc to 55,386.

But in the second quarter once the company’s 120 showrooms had reopened fully, revenue was 9pc higher than in the same period a year ago, and vehicle sales were just 1.4pc lower at 39,697.

Mr Forester said: “Consumers have had a limited number of large things they can spend their money on. The two main choices are improve your house or buy new car.”

September – a key month for sales of new cars because of the registration plate change – was a record for the company, he added.

According to trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, September was the weakest month for the wider industry in 20 years, with overall new car sales down 4.4pc, and sales to private buyers slipping 1.1pc.

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