In an era where digital presence is paramount, Arnold Clark and Big Motoring World have emerged as front-runners in the automotive retail sector, experiencing significant growth in their online marketing reach over the last six months. 

This growth has been highlighted in the latest research conducted by Salience Car, underscoring the dynamic shifts within the industry.

Key Performers in the Automotive Sector

According to the Salience Car Dealership Index, both Arnold Clark and Big Motoring World saw an impressive 7% increase in brand growth during this period. This is a remarkable achievement, considering the competitive landscape. 

The index, which measures the marketing performance of 189 direct-to-consumer brands in the UK car dealership sector, also revealed that 70% of automotive retailers have improved their organic search visibility.

Despite these gains, Auto Trader continues to dominate overall traffic volumes in the United Kingdom automotive retail market. 

Arnold Clark, however, has distinguished itself as the biggest dealer group for traffic volume over the period, followed by Evans Halshaw, Motorpoint, and Lookers. This positions Arnold Clark as a key player, driving significant consumer engagement and visibility online.

Rising Contenders and Market Trends

Interestingly, Car Gurus is also making significant strides in the market. The platform has moved from 9th to 7th place in the share of voice ranking for the first time, signalling its growing influence and competitive edge. 

What’s more, Car Gurus’ improved ranking indicates a successful strategy in boosting its digital footprint, further intensifying competition among top-tier automotive retailers.

The Salience report indicates an overall 8% growth within search for the automotive retail industry over the last six months. This positive trend is a testament to the sector’s resilience and adaptability in an increasingly digital world. 

As more consumers turn to online platforms for automotive purchases, the importance of a strong digital marketing strategy becomes ever more critical.

Challenges and Strategic Shifts

The managing director of Salience noted that the past year posed significant challenges for the industry. As brands charge into 2024, they are navigating crowded digital channels, striving to balance automation with authentic engagement, maintaining digital trust, and ensuring a strong return on investment (ROI). 

These challenges are compounded by the evolving expectations of consumers, who demand seamless, personalised online experiences.

The report highlighted several strategic shifts across the board, including a desire to reduce reliance on paid channels to varying degrees of success, a revival in website migration projects, and the ongoing duel between brand performance and clear attribution. 

These shifts reflect a broader trend towards optimising digital infrastructure and enhancing user experience to meet market demands.

Market Dynamics and Future Prospects

As the automotive retail industry continues to evolve, brands are increasingly focusing on integrated marketing strategies that leverage both organic and paid channels. The push for organic search visibility highlights the industry’s commitment to sustainable growth and long-term brand building

Moreover, the emphasis on digital trust and authentic engagement underscores the importance of maintaining a positive online reputation and fostering consumer loyalty.

The Salience Car Dealership Index serves as a valuable benchmark for industry performance, providing insights into the effectiveness of various marketing strategies. As brands navigate the complexities of the digital landscape, the ability to adapt and innovate will be key to maintaining a competitive edge.


The latest findings from Salience Car underscore the dynamic nature of the UK automotive retail sector. Arnold Clark and Big Motoring World’s significant online growth, coupled with the overall industry’s 8% increase in search visibility, reflects a broader trend towards digital optimisation

As brands continue to adapt and evolve their strategies in response to market demands, the focus remains on achieving a balance between automation and authentic engagement, all while striving for sustainable growth and a robust ROI. 

Therefore, the coming months will undoubtedly be a testament to the industry’s resilience and innovative spirit, as it navigates the challenges and opportunities of the digital age.