At least that's what online car supermarket BuyACar believes.

Car sales are expected to “surge” once more when current lockdown restrictions are lifted, according to one online car supermarket. Research from BuyACar suggests buyers could flock back to showrooms when lockdown rules are eased, with drivers preferring cars to public transport.

A small poll of just over 400 car owners showed 86 percent would use personal vehicles to get around after lockdown is over, while just 4.4 percent said they would choose other forms of transport. The remaining nine percent said they were still undecided. While it might be a small sample, BuyACar says it suggests demand for cars will only grow over the coming months.

The news comes amid a troubling time for car dealers, as showroom doors remain closed due to ongoing restrictions. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show new car sales were down by almost 40 percent in January, while used car sales were down 15 percent.

Vauxhall dealership forecourt London

However, BuyACar’s experts think demand will grow when lockdown is lifted, particularly for used cars. That’s because the company says unusually low mileage on the thousands of cars registered in 2020 will make them more desirable.

The company is also drawing on data from the first lockdown in the spring of 2020, when it says dealers were “swamped” with customer enquiries as pent-up demand was set free. BuyACar says it recorded a 70-percent uplift in registered customers and a 45-percent rise in cars ordered as the first lockdown ended.

Christofer Lloyd, the editor of BuyaCar.co.uk, said the surge in demand could be even higher in 2021, as drivers avoid public transport.

"Last year we saw the release of massive pent-up demand at the end of the first lockdown but our latest research suggests that demand will be even higher this year,” he said. "This is because many people are now explicitly stating that they would prefer to use their cars when restrictions are eased, rather than other modes of travel, as the simplest way to ensure effective social distancing.

"More car use is guaranteed to spur more demand for cars, in our view, helped by a strong supply of attractively low mileage models in particular. With such a wide choice of barely used 2020 models, choosing a nearly new model over a much more expensive brand new car has never made more sense than it does now."