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Issue 105 | December 2016 | CarDealerMag.co.uk | £3.50
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calling this the Road WELCOME. WE’RE Trip Issue. Whether that’s because there are a lot of road trips in this issue or because they’ve been causing a lot of issues for production editor Dave Brown, well, even we’re not quite sure. One thing we do know is that it’s been a busy time – and when you have finished reading this edition of the mag, you’ll be scratching your head as to who was manning the phones in the Car Dealer office. Don’t worry on that front, by the way, we gained two apprentices recently and they are extremely skilled at answering phones, making tea and cleaning dirty motorbikes as and when required. Anyway, back to the main features of Issue 105. The chunkiest one you’ll come across is Road Test of the Year, or as it’s more fondly known among the members of the Car Dealer gang, RTOTY (pronounced Rer-toe-tea, don’t you know). I won’t ruin boss James’s dramatic introduction – imagine Jeremy Clarkson meets a Hollywood movie advert sprinkled with some questionable references to Sunny Delight – but this year definitely didn’t disappoint. You’ll have seen on the cover our convoy for 2016 but you’ll have to continue through the pages to find out what we’ve put at the top of our Christmas lists, and which car was voted this year’s winner. As usual, I chose something different from everybody else as my favourite – although it was placed quite highly in other people’s tables – but feel free to ignore all the other writers’ opinions because I, like all women, am always right. It’s at this point I have to say a huge thank you to our poor photographer Jonny Fleetwood for putting up with us yet again. Trying to deal with motoring journalists when they’ve been given a selection of shiny cars to play with is similar to herding cats. Despite that, and having to crawl around in the grass and avoid considerable amounts of sheep faeces in the process, he still managed to do a sterling job.
The next event in the calendar was Bangers4Ben. This year’s route took us to Maranello in Italy and then returned over the Swiss Alps. I didn’t make it over the Swiss Alps. Not even close. I’m not particularly bitter about it, but as you’ll find out later on, we may have had some issues with the gearbox which shortened our trip slightly. I’m going with the official line that the car was protecting my co-driver Alexis Cassey who is terrified of heights, but it made it home so it was definitely fine really. Although our car is one of the few that has not yet been sold, the total raised for Ben this year is staggering – more than £50,000 in fact, by a gaggle of car dealers in broken bangers! Turn to page 80 to read about our adventures. Finally, my hero of the month is one Mr Malcolm Hay. He spent 18 days away from his family to take a goldwrapped, Olympic-emblazoned Nissan Leaf to every Nissan dealership in the UK. It might have sounded like a raw deal, but despite the bargain hotels and tiring schedule, he spent the trip living like a celebrity being cheered around the country and even posing for photographs. Turn to p27 to read his hilarious account of the trip. I’d like to say we’re going to take a break now, but as you may know, we’re moving into Used Car Awards season. Not to mention the LA Motor Show, which we’ll be covering in the next issue. Before you know it, it’ll be Christmas! Enjoy the issue.
Rebecca Chaplin Head of News and Features
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INSIDE. ISSUE 105 I DECEMBER 2016
Dashboard Feedback Vauxhall ‘firegate’ latest
Used Car Awards Trade Plates TV Skoda’s used car initiative
Can the SsangYong Musso pick up some sales from the well-established rivals in its sector?
Looking ahead to CDX17 Nissan’s Gold Leaf tour Around the World Finance
What you can expect at #CDX17 – a bigger and better event than ever!
Forecourt How dealers have been told to handle new Vauxhall fires crisis
Mal Hay hits the road in a very special Nissan Leaf
Audi R8 Spyder
Ferrari California Citroen C3
That’s a sharp suit. Well, at least it is from a distance. Up close you can tell it’s from Tesco. James Baggott
Features Road Test of the Year Bangers4Ben
114 Data File Car Dealer Club The Statistics Taking Stock Auctions Market Insight
Suppliers’ Guide Key Notes with Traka Money Talks Long-termers Here we go again! Another fantastic Bangers4Ben rally raises more than £50,000 for the automotive industry charity
06 08 12 14 16 21 27 33 34 39
40 41 44 48 80 96 98 101 102 105 108 110 111 112 114
OUR EVENTS... As voted for by dealers, the Car Dealer Power Awards are unique. This year’s ceremony took place on July 28. Find out who won by going online to bit.ly/CDP2016
The Car Dealer Used Car Awards, sponsored by Black Horse, celebrate the used car industry. This year’s event takes place on November 28. We’ll see you there!
If you missed it, you missed out! CDX16 took place on May 24 – and we’re already making plans for next year’s event which will take place on May 23. Find out more on page 21. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 05
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This BMW deal seems too straightforward! I DON’T handle the ‘buying off the public’ side of things but my partner is away for a few weeks. Had a guy pop in a couple of weeks ago with a 2001 BMW 320 which I priced at £200 (it is horrible) and he went off never to be seen again which was fine as the car was a dog. Then, today, he turns up wanting to sell it. I suspect he’s a part-time trader but the car has been owned by his wife for three years so maybe I’m just being overly suspicious. Anyway, I took the V5, a copy of his driving licence and a copy of his council tax bill. All registered to the same address as the car and the HPI report is clear. Is there anything else you guys do, or is that usually enough? For some reason, it just doesn’t sit right with me! grant8064 If it doesn’t sit right with you, why buy it? Are you that desperate for some stock that you feel in need of a £200 banger? Ocsltd Ha ha, definitely not! I honestly didn’t want the car so shouted out a stupidly low bid on it just to get rid of him. I never expected that he would go away, have a think, and come back and accept it. Didn’t really leave me a way out of it. grant8064 I buy a lot from the public, I always go with gut feeling. If it doesn’t sit right, regardless of price, I walk away! Can’t beat that gut feeling! You’ve taken all the precautions with your suspicions. As others have said, I, too, have refused to buy or refused to take part-exchanges. Some customers are shocked by that but why get into something which is going to be an issue/headache? This job is challenging enough at times! umesh I hate buying off the public! Maybe I’m unlucky but my lot are usually worse than the auctions, lying ba**ards! Had one come in the other day to do a px, ‘great car, no issues, no damage’ etc. He arrives and instead of pulling up outside my unit
Tweets of the month Today we have all our sales managers together for our annual conference, great day to celebrate success. Steve Ferry in full flow! Robert Forrester @vertumotors
Picture of the month THIS issue of Car Dealer contains full coverage of Bangers4Ben – our annual madcap rally across Europe held to raise money for the automotive industry charity Ben. Our very own Andy Entwistle was among the participants this year, but unlike everyone else, he ignored the fancy dress requirement and just turned up in his normal clothes. Must try harder next time, Mr E ! Full coverage begins on page 80. like everybody does, he drives past, does a U-turn and pulls up on the opposite side of the road with the driver’s side wedged against a fence. First thing I do is squeeze into the driver’s side and pull the car into a normal position so I can view it properly. What a surprise! The side he was trying to hide had been resprayed and the door was out of alignment. Another one came in the next day, this time with a 4x4 as px. As we’re working out a deal, all he keeps repeating like a parrot is ‘once you take my car, no comebacks, no comebacks’. I swiftly declined his offer. M.J I am going against the grain here. I love buying off the public and have had some amazing bargains over the years. Same old thing in the motor trade – what works well for one is a disaster for another. justina3 Definitely go with your gut. Sometimes there’s some real good stuff in the public domain. Some people think a car is worth nothing as they don’t want it any more so will accept a low bid; other times they think it’s still worth what it was new. Daylight
All buyers are liars. One of my very first bosses used to say to me: ‘If the man comes in from outside and says it’s raining, check his coat and make sure it’s wet.’ I have more stories about lying customers than I’ve had hot dinners (and I’ve had a lot of them). Check, check and check again. Mat C
This really wears me down This annoys the hell out of me... lovely mint car but the steering wheel looks like it’s been through the mincer with leather missing. Have had about three cars come in this week like this, all Peugeots. How do you all normally deal with this problem? Do you bother to get the wheels refurbished and if so, what does it normally cost? I normally just give the customer a few quid off the price if they moan about it, but a couple of these cars are so bad, I think buyers will be put off altogether... Max Branning Had the same problem with a Peugeot 3008. As far as I remember, a replacement wheel is only about £40. I think you have to swap a couple of bits over but better than a repair, no? Might be worth checking with your local, friendly Pug dealer (if there is such a thing!). GreenGiant
Well done #MercedesBenz Aberdeen for raising £658 for @FriendsofANCHOR at their fundraising evening #CharityTuesday. Arnold Clark @ArnoldClark
Been buying tailored leather steering wheel gloves off eBay, approx £18.50 for a great-quality one. ‘Mr Steering’ does the best ones. Takes me approximately one-and-a-half hours to sew on, but looks great, really mastered it now! There’s a video on YouTube which explains it all! Wood235
The Dubai police fleet includes a Lamborghini, Ferrari and Bentley. This is to allow them to catch speeders who can outrun other cars. Fact @Fact
Offer with a nice pair of Alan Partridge-style leather driving gloves. sparky
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CarDealerMag.co.uk | 07
BBC follows in our footsteps to probe pre-reg
Peoples Ford congratulated on a record-breaking year. bit.ly/peoples105
Firegate extends to Corsa D as Vauxhall is embroiled in new blazing cars scandal More negative headlines for manufacturer in wake of Zafira B crisis
CAR Dealer Magazine has undertaken research in partnership with the BBC that reveals up to a fifth of new cars in the UK are pre-registered. The magazine’s founder James Baggott was interviewed by the BBC as part of an investigation into the issue of car preregistration, having covered the issue extensively over the past few years. He appeared on Radio 4’s You and Yours programme. Baggott said: ‘I refer to it as a drug but only because that’s how a lot of dealers refer to it themselves. Once you are hooked into it, it is very hard to get off it. ‘We’re constantly talking about how buoyant the car market is. But pre-registered cars are inflating the real car market. They are often just sitting in a field somewhere. ‘I would say that isn’t transparent enough because a number of people use the car industry as a bellwether for the economy.’ The SMMT denies that there is a problem, saying self-registration enables dealers to manage their stock levels.
Work starts on Porsche centre WORK has begun on a cutting-edge Porsche Centre in Teesside, which is set to open early next summer. The development adds to the current 36-strong Porsche Centre network in the UK and Ireland, and demonstrates a major investment in the brand and in Teesside. It will serve customers from across County Durham, North Yorkshire and the North East. 08 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
A Zafira B goes up in flames – now Vauxhall is being questioned again over driver and passenger safety
nternal Vauxhall documents leaked to Car Dealer Magazine have revealed official dealer guidance in the wake of the latest fire scandal to hit the manufacturer. The files require that dealers ensure all customer-facing and call centre staff are appropriately briefed to answer customer questions that may result from a recent edition of BBC One’s consumer affairs show Watchdog. In the programme, seven cases of fire involving Vauxhall’s Corsa D hatchback were detailed – three relating to the Corsa Black Edition 1.4 Turbo, pictured below. Guidance issued by Vauxhall to dealers includes reassuring customers that the issue is unrelated to the fires affecting the Zafira B; applies only to Corsa D models with the 1.4 Turbo engine; and is part of an ongoing safety recall since April 2016. The manufacturer is already reeling from the effects of the Zafira fire issue. And it’s not the first fire issue to affect the Corsa either, as more than 200,000 Corsa C models were recalled in 2007 following yet another Watchdog investigation into fires caused by water penetrating the ABS unit and causing electrical shorting. The issue with the Corsa D seems to be related to water ingress as well. A safety recall issued in April 2016 for 2,767 cars built by Opel at Eisenach in Germany centres on the potential for a short circuit in the vacuum pump relay box
by ANDREW EVANS @snavEwerdnA
because of water. This design is specific to the 1.4 Turbo Black Edition, so the issue ought to be confined to that model alone. Vauxhall’s documents also seek to give representatives information designed to head off consumer questions on the issue. We can reveal that in the guidance, the manufacturer stresses that many of the Zafira fires didn’t come to light until after media interest as insurance companies aren’t required to notify carmakers of fires; that there are more than 18,000 vehicle fires each year and that only two of the nine cases investigated by Watchdog and Vauxhall involved a vehicle fire. Vauxhall included some of the same information in the following statement issued to Watchdog: ‘Customer safety is of the utmost importance and we take any report of fire very seriously. ‘Fires can occur for a wide variety of reasons and it’s worth noting that, on average, there are 18,000 vehicle fires a year across all manufacturers in the UK. ‘Vauxhall Corsa D is one of our most popular models, with over 700,000
sold in the UK between 2006 and 2014. Earlier this year we identified a potential fire-related issue with a specific Corsa D variant equipped with the 1.4 Turbo petrol engine. Nine cases had previously been reported to us, which we investigated, two of these had resulted in a fire. A safety recall to address this issue was initiated in April 2016 for the 2,767 vehicles affected. ‘When customers report a fire to us we explain that an inspection may be necessary but that we need the permission of their insurance company before we can proceed. This avoids the risk of the customer’s insurance policy being invalidated. ‘Our preference is to conduct a joint investigation with the customer’s insurer but for a variety of reasons this is not always possible. For example, in some cases, the insurance company has already conducted an investigation, in other cases the vehicle may have already been scrapped. ‘Following the Zafira B issue we strengthened our processes but even so it is not always possible to arrange an inspection. When an inspection is possible, the destructive nature of fire can make the process of identifying a pattern of fires with a common root cause very challenging. ‘It’s also worth bearing in mind that manufacturers frequently do not get to hear about fires in their vehicles. We found with Zafira B, for example, that many cases only emerged after media reports in October 2015. Some of these dated back several years.’
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Progress buys Skoda outlet ESTABLISHED dealer group Progress has acquired Spirit Skoda in Harlow, Essex. The Harlow site in Edinburgh Way features a nine-car showroom with space to display 50 used cars on its forecourt. There is also a fully-equipped six-bay workshop area, as well as a fully-stocked parts department. Progress group MD Terence Byrne said: ‘I am delighted to announce our recent purchase of Spirit Skoda in Harlow from Group 1 Automotive. ‘This represents a great addition to the group and is an ideal strategic and geographical fit with all the other Progress businesses. ‘Skoda is destined to continue to grow in the coming years and with the exciting new models planned, the future looks very bright.’
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Relief as Nissan set to keep building cars in Sunderland Next-generation Qashqai and X-Trail will be manufactured in the north-east
issan will produce the nextgeneration Qashqai and will add production of the next X-Trail to the line-up of cars built at its Sunderland plant, the company has announced. The manufacturer’s decision follows a commitment from the government that the Sunderland plant will remain competitive post-Brexit. As a result, Nissan will increase its investment there, securing the jobs of more than 7,000 workers. Carlos Ghosn, pictured, chairman and CEO of Nissan, said: ‘I am pleased to announce that Nissan will continue to invest in Sunderland. Our employees continue to make the plant a globally competitive powerhouse. ‘The support and assurances of the UK government enabled us to decide that the next-generation Qashqai
and X-Trail will be produced at Sunderland. I welcome Theresa May’s commitment to the automotive industry in Britain and to the development of an overall industrial strategy.’ Nissan’s Sunderland plant opened in 1986 and has produced almost nine million cars since. One in three British cars are produced in Sunderland, which is the UK’s largest car plant. In addition, 80 per cent of production from
Sunderland is exported to over 130 international markets. More than two million Qashqais have been built in Sunderland in less than 10 years. In addition to the 7,000 direct employees at Sunderland, the plant supports a further 28,000 British automotive supply chain jobs. To date, Nissan has invested more than £3.7 billion in Sunderland. Keeping Nissan in the UK was regarded as vital to Mrs May’s hopes for a successful Brexit. The prime minister described the announcement as ‘fantastic news for the UK’ and said ‘families across the north-east will be delighted’. She added: ‘It is recognition that the government is committed to creating and supporting the right conditions for the automotive industry so it continues to grow – now and in the future.’
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Golf marks the start of major range revamp
VOLKSWAGEN’S updated Golf marks the start of a huge model offensive that will see the entire range updated by 2020. Speaking at the unveiling of the facelifted Golf in Wolfsburg, Dr Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, said the company would launch 10 new models in 2017, while the line-up will be totally revamped by 2020. The deluge of new models, which Dr. Diess described as Volkswagen’s ‘greatest product offensive ever,’ will include a new fastback and a production version of the T-Roc SUV concept shown at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Dr. Diess said: ‘Volkswagen is gaining momentum, and in 2017 we will be presenting more than 10 new models and major updates. A new fastback will deliver on emotion and the T-Roc will be the next step in our SUV offensive. ‘By 2020 we will have renewed our complete line-up, realising the brand’s greatest product offensive ever.’
Caffyns expands at Ashford site NEW and used car dealership group Caffyns is to expand its presence in Ashford after buying 2.1 acres of land there for £1.125m. The land adjoins its Used Car Centre and will see the company build on its operations in the Kent town. Caffyns, which has traded for more than 150 years, currently has 13 premises across Kent and Sussex, selling brands including Audi and Skoda. 12 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
BMW can await the outcome of Brexit negotiations, says boss. bit.ly/bmw-brexit105
Party time is nearly here! Just a few days to go to the awards do of the year
The Used Car Awards are just around the corner – and excitement is building fast
t’s nearly time again for the annual Car Dealer Magazine Used Car Awards, the unmissable occasion that celebrates the best of the best in the used car industry. Held every year at the spectacular Brewery venue near the Barbican in London, the Used Car Awards is a glamorous event that recognises the leaders in the sector in a number of different categories, from customer care to social media, and rewards dealerships of all shapes and sizes. Following the nominations process, which allows entrants to self-nominate, the number-crunchers here on the Car Dealer team get to work. Entries are vetted and sorted to generate a long-list before the mystery shopping starts. When all the scores are in, the
by ANDREW EVANS @snavEwerdnA
panel of judges, chaired by Mr. Wheeler Dealer himself Mike Brewer, will pore through the results to whittle the list down to a final-five shortlist in each category – and you’ll really need to know your business, product and market inside-out to get this far. The winner and two runners-up in each category will be revealed at this year’s event, which takes place on Monday, November 28. Whether you win or not, you’ll be able to enjoy a great evening with a meal, drinks, music and dancing, all in the fabulous Grade II listed 18th Century surroundings of the impressive venue of The Brewery. A Used Car Award trophy in your
In association with
office is a great way to get customers talking and the event itself is very much the start of the festive season, so it’s an occasion no-one should miss. We couldn’t do it without our friends and sponsors listed below. STOP PRESS: Last few tickets still available, call 023 9252 2434 to join us on the night !
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Why we’re steering this showroom in a whole new direction HR Owen’s Cheltenham Ecurie is taking advantage of the current appetite for modern classics
R Owen Ecurie is a new name on the supercar dealing scene. Yes, you’ve heard of HR Owen before but this new dealership brand based in Cheltenham has been created to offer second-hand supercars to its existing clientele. Trade Plates TV visited the dealership to speak with general manager Stephan Plant, below. The dealership only opened on July 1 in its current form, but the business had been in existence for almost 70 years as a Bentley franchise before that. It’s a huge leap of faith for HR Owen, which has been successful with supercar and premium franchises, as this new arm of the group is one that specialises in pre-owned vehicles. It reflects an important change in the supercar market, as buyers are looking at sought-after but rare modern classics in increasing numbers. Plant has been in the motor trade for 20 years, and is now steering the showroom in its new direction. It’s an interesting proposition, as Plant explains to Rebecca on Trade Plates TV, which offers HR Owen an opportunity to compete with the ever-growing number of supercar specialists but with the advantage of an existing database of customers who are ready to buy. ‘Ecurie is a French word for stable which is also associated with the world of racing, so we felt it lent itself quite well to us because we’re in Cheltenham, which is famous for horse racing,’ Plant explained. ‘Now we offer a range of marques, that not only the group offers, but also marques that we don’t
Rebecca checks out the cars at the Ecurie represent. We can offer modern classics or most modern cars and supercars which are a credit to the HR Owen brand. ‘Bentleys we know inside out,’ added Plant. ‘On our aftersales side, which is still approved for Bentley repair, we’ve got 90 years’ worth of experience, just with the technicians, service manager and service adviser. That’s quite unique in any industry, to be able to draw on that wealth of knowledge and experience.’ The Ecurie name and focus is a very new venture for the business, though. Plant said: ‘It’s a new world for HR Owen. Our clients can come to us for virtually any make or marque, but can still deal with the HR Owen brand.’ With the breadth of the dealer group’s customer base at its fingertips, we asked, does being in a location such as Cheltenham rather than London make life easier? ‘In terms of the location of any business now, with the power of the internet, it’s not so much
Twitter: @tradeplatestv 14 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
Facebook: Trade Plates TV
about where that business physically is. One of the advantages of being in Cheltenham, though, is that we do have one of the largest showrooms of any of the HR Owen businesses. ‘So we can display our supercars under one roof, without them being outside on a forecourt or in an underground car park as they would be in London. ‘But also, we’ll take the cars to the clients as well. Location is not always everything, because we do have the means to get to the clients, or at least if they want to come and visit the showroom they can come here and see not just one, but 12 to 15 cars.’ The cars surrounding us in the dealership are from every classification of a desirable car today – from nearly new Lamborghinis with minimal miles on the clock, to an older but still desirable Mercedes SLR and a BMW Z3 M coupe. ‘There is, most certainly, a growing trend in the UK of people looking to buy modern classics,’ said Plant. ‘Normally-aspirated cars with manual gearboxes seem to be the next tier of cars that are sought after. We’ve just sold a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, which is an iconic car sold for a sum higher than what it would have been in 2010. ‘There is an aspiration for that product, it’s just down to us to take those cars and identify those niches within the market.’ Head over to tradeplates.tv to watch the interview in full.
Car-sharing: it’s not really a new idea but this time it could work
t’s often the case that a product comes into the market that is so ridiculous you can guarantee the public will love it. Remember when phone makers added cameras to mobiles? Ridiculous. Tesla decided to build fashionable electric cars. Who would buy into that? Then there’s my personal favourite, the Goblin Teasmade. Ok so maybe boiling water on your bedside table wasn’t quite as popular back in the day as the camera phone has become, but now there’s a new invention on the market that takes the idea of car ownership and flips it on its head. They call it ‘car sharing’. It’s built on the idea that people don’t want to personally own a car these days, just have the use of one when they need it. Again, I’m sure you’ll all agree with me as people invested in the sale of cars, this is ridiculous. So when the Chinese parent company of Volvo, Geely, announced they were making a ‘shareable’ car with slogans like ‘the car is not a car’, I despaired. If I can tell you one thing I’m sure about a car, it’s that it most definitely is a car. However, Lynk & Co seem determined to convince us that the car is an idea, a revolution, a key and… a bike. Car sharing has been around for ages but, I’ve got to admit, I think Geely are the only manufacturers on the scene that have got it right with their model, the 01. The idea behind it, if you haven’t read the extensive literature (car is car, car is bike, car is key etc, riveting stuff), is that Lynk & Co gives you the ability to buy a car, lease one or just borrow one at any time without booking ahead. This is built around the fact that the car has no key. Instead, you have a digital key in your phone so you can rent it out when you’re not using it. It’s like Uber but without the awkwardness of making small talk with the taxi driver as he takes a wrong turn for the third time. If you’ve used Uber in London, you’ll know what I mean. But, for anyone who has used Uber – or airbnb who Lynk & Co directly compare themselves to – you’ll know that sometimes there just isn’t anybody in the area. The sceptic in me says that an infrastructure will be needed for this to
work, and if everyone wants to borrow one of these cars rather than own one, where will they come from? This theory is built on convenience. So if you live in a city and you only need to use a car at weekends, what are the chances that the people who own the cars near you will only need to use them at weekends too? It’s taken Tesla a long time and a lot of money to invest in its supercharger network, and Uber areas outside London are limited, if non-existent. Lynk & Co has other added benefits, though, because the car is connected all of the time so you don’t need to worry about servicing and maintenance. The system can book in your car when you’re not using it, someone can pick it up for you, they’ll leave a replacement and when it’s sorted they can deliver it back. That’s all down to that magical digital key again. There’s nothing unusual about car companies trying to
Chaplin ‘To the target audience, THE VIEW FROM BEHIND THE SCENES
I might as well have said gold, silver and black.’ engage with a younger audience, but it feels like Lynk & Co have rolled several good ideas into one exciting concept. Then there’s the looks. I’ve got to admit I wasn’t a fan of the grinning grille at first. But on second glance, it’s not a bad-looking beast. Anyway, who cares if you don’t own it? And that’s it, that’s what we know. THAT is my absolutely favourite thing about the 01. It’s a car that’s been launched with photos, details of the infotainment system’s size and software but we know very little about the powertrain other than it’ll be available in petrol, diesel and hybrid. That’s the brilliant thing though. To Lynk & Co’s target audience I might as well have said gold, silver and black. It’ll likely come down to a price point for the purchaser, much like how much space you’ll pay for your laptop is all about affordability. It’s truly ridiculous. And that’s why I have absolute faith it’ll work.
Who is Rebecca Chaplin? Rebecca is head of news and features at Blackball Media and presents news programmes and features on its online video channel Trade Plates TV
Go to TradePlates.tv now to see our latest videos CarDealerMag.co.uk | 15
Electric NV300 ‘not ruled out’ NISSAN has hinted that an electric version of its NV300 van may join the commercial vehicle range, although the Japanese manufacturer has no concrete plans as yet. Nissan UK’s LCV product manager, Ed Kelleher, said that an e-NV300 was ‘not something Nissan would rule out’. The NV300, which shares much with the Renault Trafic, Fiat Talento and Vauxhall Vivaro, is becoming available this month, boasting a range of 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesel engines. Kelleher said: ‘Electric vehicles – EVs – are a major focus point at Nissan. Maybe traditional fuel types might reduce in terms of sales mix, so that [an EV] is something that we would be looking into.’ Asked about timescales, he said: ‘It might be something that comes at some point well into the life cycle.’
What’s in a name? Skoda’s new approach to used cars Three-month pilot starts at dealership as manufacturer launches initiative
koda is piloting a new approach to selling used cars that will attempt to make the process more personal for potential customers. People who are trading in or upgrading their Skoda will be asked to provide information on details such as the car’s nickname, what personality traits it has, and what memories it helped to create. This information will then be shared with potential future owners in an attempt to give them a greater insight into a more personal side of the car’s history. Nick O’Neill, national used car manager for Skoda UK, said: ‘For the sales guys in the showroom, it’s a different conversation starter. ‘It’s really about generating that initial interest and having a nice
conversational topic and appealing to the emotional side of a purchase rather than the purely rational. ‘Then the sales guys can step in and talk about what the car comes with and all of that additional information.’ Based on a survey of 2,000 people and the cars they owned previously, O’Neill said that Skoda managed a 73 per cent reconsideration rate – the highest out of any manufacturer
tested. ‘We have such a high reconsideration rate that we thought to ourselves, ‘‘What better people to help sell our used cars than the previous owners?’’, because 73 per cent of them, the research shows, would be willing to buy another Skoda,’ he added. Skoda has chosen the Londonbased Willis Motor Company as the location for the three-month pilot. Proprietor Dennis Willis said: ‘We’ve been selling used cars for more than 25 years, and I’ve seen first-hand the way that the relationship between owners and their cars has changed. ‘People don’t just own a car now – they love it, it becomes part of them and their life. No-one has done anything like this in the industry to reflect that shift. Skoda is breaking new ground.’
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Ask Auto Trader
Have a question, or a suggestion for next month’s topic? I’d love to hear from you: marc.thornborough@ autotrader.co.uk
Seeing your way to sales success
We all talk about transparency but what does it mean and how do we deliver it for car buyers? Why do consumers want transparency and what effect does it have if a retailer doesn’t provide it? Auto Trader’s Brand Director, Marc Thornborough, answers these questions and more to reveal the positive benefits of a transparent approach with consumers. What do you mean by transparency?
Being transparent is all about being clear, honest and open with consumers. The average consumer spends 11 hours researching their next car online and they want clear information so they can make an informed purchase decision. They don’t want to find misleading or hard to find information or to reach the dealership to be told something different to what they read online. It creates distrust, puts them off buying and could mean a lost sale. I always put the price of the car clearly on my adverts so surely I’m being transparent? It’s a good start but are you displaying all the costs associated with buying the car? Are any admin fees clearly displayed? What about finance offers – are all the costs clearly shown? The most important price the consumer is interested in is the total price they are expected to pay. Nothing can put a consumer off more than to find out there are extra charges they need to pay when poised to sign the contract.
How can I show potential customers that I’m being completely transparent? There are several ways you can be transparent with consumers. Sharing all your past customer reviews, good and bad, is a great place to start and shows potential customers you are trustworthy. Our research tells us 61% of car buyers claim that car testimonials and reviews are an important factor in the purchase process. It’s why we have enabled retailers to display all their customer reviews on our site. It provides
transparency and means a consumer can choose a car retailer with confidence. Video adverts are another way to deliver transparency as it provides a detailed look at your products. It’s why we have set up video on your full-page adverts. Of the top 100 online retailers, 73 use video to promote their products and according to our research, 90% of online shoppers find video useful when making purchasing decisions. We know from our own extensive trials that customers with videos could see an increase of 17% in their advert views benchmark versus adverts without video. What’s more, users who viewed a video on their visit spent 13% more time on Auto Trader, and they viewed more adverts too. Transparency works and creates stronger engagement with potential customers.
Are there other ways to deliver transparency to consumers?
There are also some simple ways to reinforce this transparency that consumers value. Providing pictures of your showroom and sales staff is a good one. Potential car buyers are reassured when they know who they will be dealing with once they step inside your dealership. If you advertise yourself as a family-run business, then it pays to show who the family members are that work at your dealership.
What are the benefits of being fully transparent with consumers?
Ultimately, consumers want to know whether they can trust you to buy a car from you. Trust is
gained following a successful transaction, so a customer who has had a positive car buying experience knows they can trust that dealership. They become a walking advert for your business and an advocate for your customer service. Encouraging a consumer to do business with you in the first place is therefore key. That’s where transparency comes in – it shows you are trustworthy. It means consumers are more likely to visit your dealership with a view to buying a car. We also know the downsides if dealerships are not transparent with consumers. Of the 5,000 car buyers surveyed for our latest Market Report, nearly a fifth found information to be vague, hard to find or misleading. Of those, 41% said it took them longer to purchase the car they wanted, 22% said it put them off and they nearly bought from another dealership, and 16% said they did decide to buy from another retailer. So you can see, being transparent not only means more business for a retailer but also makes for a stress-free and enjoyable experience for car buyers too. We are already seeing some great examples of retailers embracing transparency and securing more business as a result. With only 7% of consumers saying they trust the used car industry, those who do adopt transparency give themselves a competitive advantage. That means generating more sales, securing a greater market share and making more profit. I can’t be any more transparent than that.
Find out more at: trade.autotrader.co.uk/auto-trader-insight *Auto Trader September Market Report
For the latest news, views and insight from the automotive retail community, follow @ATInsight on Twitter
CarDealerMag.co.uk | 17
Dealership is a rugby supporter VERTU Honda Doncaster is supporting a local rugby club for another year. The Honda dealership is extending its sponsorship of Doncaster Knights Rugby Union FC in a 12-month contract. The club, which plays in the RFU Championship league, is a family-orientated outfit in the heart of the community, making it the perfect fit for the dealership. The deal will see new hoardings and banners put up at key areas of the club’s Castle Park ground, including the main stand, the dugouts and the driveway. Kevin Orridge, general manager at Vertu Honda Doncaster, said: ‘We are very proud to team up with Doncaster Knights once again. ‘The partnership is a great way to promote our love of sports while investing in the community as well.’
Fancy acting like a head of state? This is the car for you A rare Mercedes 600 Presidential Landaulet has gone on sale in Derbyshire
f you’ve ever felt like emulating some of history’s most famous heads of state, Derbyshire specialist car dealer Tom Hartley Jnr has the perfect car for you. The Mercedes-Benz 600 – sometimes referred to as the Grosser (or ‘Grand’) – was created to be the very best luxury car in the world, and managed it with such aplomb that it quickly became the vehicle of choice for presidents, monarchs and dictators worldwide. As the first ever Mercedes vehicle to be fitted with a V8, the limousine was the height of decadence and came in many forms. There was the ‘regular’ four-door car, a long-wheelbase, six-door dubbed the Pullman, and Landaulet versions (fixed roof at the front, convertible at the rear) of both.
The 600 Pullman Landaulet was the car that conveyed the ruling elite through the crowds, with owners including Idi Amin, Enver Hoxha and Nicolae Ceaucescu. Only nine of these behemoths were built with a retractable roof over the entire rear passenger compartment, to create the long-roof ‘Presidential Landaulet’. This particular model, featuring black paint with a cognac interior trim, was owned by president of Yugoslavia Josip Tito from 1971 until 1980. After Tito’s ownership,
the car was bought by collectors in Norway and Germany, before ending up in the UK. Tom Hartley Jnr told us: ‘I’ve known the car for many years. It belonged to a very good client and a well-respected collector based in the UK. ‘I’ve always been in love with the car. It’s a very significant and very important car – all of the Landaulets are, and only nine of them were built in the long-roof, six-door configuration. Of those nine, this is probably regarded as the most original, the most unmolested car and it also has great provenance.’ Befitting the Tito heritage, this example comes complete with two original Yugoslavian flags with chrome flag staffs, two original licence plates used by Tito and a selection of Tito memorabilia.
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Auto Trader revenue up to more than £150m in half-year results. bit.ly/autotrader105
CDX17: Save the date now for a truly great Car Dealer event With a huge trade expo, useful workshops and debates involving key industry figures, it will be another cracker!
lmost before the doors had closed on CDX16, Car Dealer Magazine started planning CDX17. It’s difficult to imagine how the scale and content of CDX16 could be improved upon. The 5,500 square metre halls of Silverstone’s impressive Wing complex – overlooking the pitlane for the British Grand Prix – packed in more than 100 exhibitors from across the industry, with nearly 3,000 delegates signed up to take in all that was on offer. However, there’s no doubt that CDX17 will be bigger and better still. Amy Duff, events manager at Car Dealer Magazine, said: ‘We have already sold 30 per cent of stands for CDX17. ‘Demand is up again for next year, even on top of the impressive response we had for CDX16.’ Even without considering the high calibre of exhibitors, CDX16 was a visually breathtaking event. Hugely ornate and complex stands were built over the course of the previous day by many of the brands, with headline sponsor GForces’ Plaza dominating Hall 2 and looking for all the world like a set from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Online new car site carwow had an imposing
by ANDREW EVANS @snavEwerdnA presence in one of the mezzanines, with twometre tall letters advertising itself to the crowds below, while Auto Trader even included a golf driving range simulator. Other exhibitors brought along some interactive entertainment too, with a giant Scalextric rig and racing simulators dotted around the halls – some even offering prizes. Amy added: ‘It’s incredible how the exhibitors seem to outdo themselves year on year. ‘CDX15 was a spectacle, but CDX16 outstripped it in every way and CDX17 promises to be even more breathtaking. ‘There’s never any shortage of things to do and see at CDX. We don’t yet know what many of our exhibitors have got planned for next year’s event, but if previous years are anything to go by there’ll be more going on than one person can reasonably do in a single day!’ This year’s event offered unrivalled networking opportunities too, with Google, Facebook and Twitter all in attendance and giving keynote
speeches on the Car Dealer Live Stage. The stage also hosted a pretty feisty Brexit debate, along with discussions involving manufacturer heads, dealer bosses and the SMMT. Amy noted: ‘The live stage forms an important centrepiece, with figures from key companies, industry bodies and groups giving their opinions on the state and future direction of the car industry. We have more speakers lined up for 2017 who’ll provide fascinating insight and thought-provoking comments.’ In the workshop areas, delegates could find talks and presentations from video experts CitNOW, industry legal firm Lawgistics, leading provenance body cap hpi and the RAC – which held its very first dealer conference at the event. Amy added: ‘There’s something for everyone in the workshops. 2016’s workshop programme was expansive and very well received by attendees, and we think that the schedule for 2017, with a new and improved format, will be even more of a draw. Watch this space!’
Date for the diary MAKE sure you save the date in your diary – CDX17 will be held at Silverstone on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Packed as usual with dealer and manufacturer Q&A sessions, workshops, the industry’s top Twitter influencers, networking opportunities and more, it’s the event no-one in the business can afford to miss. Call us on 023 9252 2434 to register your interest.
The Wing at Silverstone will be the venue for CDX17
CDX headline sponsors GForces explain why they’re delighted to be involved again – overleaf CarDealerMag.co.uk | 21
Leader in automotive digital technology, marketing and consultancy services announced as headline sponsor of Silverstone event rd for 3 year running. CDX, Car Dealer’s annual conference, has quickly become the biggest and brightest showcase for the UK automotive industry’s most innovative products, leading-edge technologies and future orientated creative thinking. Last year CDX grew in both scale and reach considerably, with 2016 being 40% larger than 2015’s inaugural event. Now in its third year, CDX 17 is set to be the best yet, with more exhibitors and delegates than ever before. That means that not only will there be something for everyone, but there’s a good chance your competitors are already going! Silverstone will once again be the setting for CDX 17. Filling the racetrack venue’s hallowed halls will be over 100 motor trade suppliers and some of the biggest names at manufacturer and dealer level. Next year’s event promises to throw a real spotlight on the stars of the showroom and the key performers of the industry. Among the many returning highlights for 2017 will be the Car Dealer Live Stage, with a new series of talks from internet giants and industry changers, ready to inspire and inform. 22 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
It’s also where you’ll have the opportunity to ﬁre your most candid questions at our extensive manufacturer and franchised dealer panels. GForces, leading providers of automotive digital technology, marketing and consultancy services to some of the world’s leading vehicle retailer groups and manufacturers, will return as headline sponsor for the third year running. Tim Smith, Group Strategy Director, explains why the expo has become such a calendar event in so short a time. “CDX gives us an unprecedented chance to network with over 2,000 dealer delegates and hundreds of like-minded innovators and automotive industry suppliers. Although America has the annual NADA expo, there was nothing really like it in the UK or even Europe, until CDX came along. Now we can showcase the best of the British automotive industry from the historic home of motor racing in the UK. It also oﬀers a chance to learn from true visionaries. With keynote speakers from experts like Google, and industry insight passed on through interactive workshops, there’s real scope to change
our business models for the better. Whether building exciting new partnerships, being inspired by the latest innovations, or simply enjoying the stunning vehicle displays, CDX is a must attend event for us.” The response to CDX 16 was incredibly positive, with the smallest to largest suppliers all wanting to secure their places for the 2017 event as soon as possible. Being so well attended by the industry helps fuel not only the excitement, but also the competitive innovation on show from the wide selection of exhibitors. “We always see CDX as an opportunity to pull something new out of the bag.” Tim adds. “In the past we’ve seen everything from fully interactive media screens to actual touring cars and giant Scalextric tracks. Every year, CDX gets bigger and better, and as leaders of data-driven creative thinking, we feel obliged to rise to the challenge. From our new stock preparation app, NetDirector ® Vision, to NetDirector ® Editions, our most versatile and tailored platforms yet for independent and single franchise operations, our latest oﬀerings will allow you to do more with less. We’re already working on some exciting
new products to launch closer to the event, and on what will undoubtedly be our most impressive stand to date.” With over 500 dealer groups now using the next-generation NetDirector® V10 platform from GForces, we recommend you don’t wait until next May to talk to them if you want to stay up to date with the latest GForces products and launches. You can ﬁnd out more by visiting www.gforces.co.uk or start the conversation via firstname.lastname@example.org. CDX 17 promises to be the UK’s biggest motor trade conference and expo, taking place on May 23rd 2017 and is free to attend for car dealers. More information can be found by visiting: www.cardealermagazine.co.uk/events/cdx17 or by contacting GForces.
0844 846 4772 www.gforces.co.uk CarDealerMag.co.uk | 23
Infiniti arrives in Northern Ireland INFINITI has opened its first retail store in Northern Ireland. The opening of the new centre – in Belfast – demonstrates the continuous growth of the brand across Europe. The introduction of Infiniti Centre Belfast brings with it a new partner to the brand: Mervyn Stewart Ltd, which is investing in an all-new site in Boucher Crescent. The family-run business will design the premises to tie in with Infiniti’s customer experience standards.
Excellence award for Jack Tordoff JACK TORDOFF MBE, the founder and chairman of Yorkshire-based car retailer JCT600, has been given the top honour at the Yorkshire Post newspaper’s annual business awards. Tordoff received the Individual Award for Excellence and received a standing ovation at the ceremony in Leeds. The award recognises the incredible contribution Tordoff has made to the region’s economic success.
Jaguar and Volvo outlets on the way LOOKERS is to build flagship Jaguar and Volvo dealerships in Glasgow. The multi-millionpound development will cover almost five acres and be located at Hillington Park, fronting J25 of the M8. Construction is earmarked to get under way by the end of this year with a grand opening in mid-2017, creating up to 100 jobs. The dealerships will be managed and operated by Lookers’ Taggarts Motor Group division in Scotland. 24 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
The high-end world of supercar dealership Prindiville
New investment scheme is aimed at wealthy car lovers Guaranteed return offered as part of a new and exclusive service
upercar dealer Prindiville, based in London, is branching out to offer a new and exclusive service. Due to pressure from customers who wanted a smarter way to invest their money, owner Alex Prindiville has restructured his business so it can offer an asset bond with a guaranteed return. Prindiville explained: ‘Currently we have around 50 to 60 cars in stock. I’ve got a few customers I do a lot of business with, and what they said to me is, ‘‘We’ve each got a couple of spare million’’ as they do, “and we want you to invest it in cars for us. ‘ ‘‘But we want you to go off and structure a safe and secure way for us to leave our money with you, so you don’t run off to the Bahamas!” ‘We started looking at different ways that we could set a structure up, and the way that we could do this was by setting up an investment bond. ‘We’ve constructed a very straight and safe way that an investor can invest his money and purchase stock. The stock is then held as a debenture from the board of trustees who make sure that the company is correctly run. ‘So if anything goes wrong, it’s not like stocks and shares where you’ve got
by REBECCA CHAPLIN @BelieveBecca
nothing left but a nice email – here you’ve got visible stock, because your money has bought stock!’ According to Prindiville, this new business plan is a no-brainer for those with a motoring passion who are looking to invest. ‘This is an ideal way for people who have a love and a passion for cars to invest. Minimum investment is £50,000, it’s a 7.5 per cent return on the bond paid biannually. At the end of that you then decide what you want to do,’ he said. ‘There are always small pockets of individual models that increase in price as soon as you buy them. The trick is to obviously know which ones are investment cars and which ones are good cars but not necessarily desirable to collectors.’ Prindiville’s business is unique and resists the style
of many supercar retailers of classical design and neutral colours. Instead it inspires the playboy in all car buyers, with retro artwork, a red and black colour scheme and the option to enjoy cars on the road or track as part of his exclusive club, which pre-dates the new bond. He told us: ‘Depending on the level of investment that you put in, we’ve got some different structures. ‘We do lots of corporate events, we do ride-outs to Monaco, we do track days, we have discounts on cars. ‘If you put £1 million in, you have use of the cars. If you invest with us, we give you a guaranteed 2.5 per cent and you have some of the world’s maddest and most exclusive cars.’ The owner also revealed that there are more exciting plans ahead for Prindiville plc, which will be moving to a new showroom in London soon. Although at this stage it is unable to reveal where it will be, the supercar dealer did divulge that it will be an underground ‘batcave’ and the largest supercar showroom in central London.
Jobs saved as Snows Group takes over collapsed dealerships. bit.ly/snows105
Nissan buys 34% of Mitsubishi NISSAN recently became Mitsubishi Motors Corporation’s largest shareholder after completing the purchase of 34 per cent of its stock. The deal, announced in May this year and reported at the time by Car Dealer, cost 237 billion yen (£1.9bn) and will see MMC become a full member of the 17-year global alliance between Nissan and Renault, paving the way to enhance profit margins and earnings per share.
New home for Kia and Fiat outlets LOOKERS’ Kia and Fiat dealerships in Stockport, Greater Manchester, have moved to a new home. The showrooms formerly at Stockport Motor Village have relocated to a shared site at the town’s Riverside Development nearby. In addition to the relocation of its Kia and Fiat showrooms, Lookers says it has plans in place regarding the expansion of its other businesses at Stockport Motor Village.
Renault Sport network grows PENTAGON Lincoln is the latest Renault dealership to join the Renault Sport (RS) dealer network. Its new status as a dedicated RS specialist recognises its unwavering passion for the highperformance brand and ability to provide Renault Sport customers with a great level of service. There will be a special area dedicated to the brand, with the latest models, accessories and merchandise on display.
Caralot goes into liquidation: ‘We got too big too quickly’ Customers express dismay on Facebook as dealership shuts up shop by ANDREW EVANS @snavEwerdnA
ell-known Derbyshire dealership Caralot, repeat winners at Car Dealer Magazine’s Used Car Awards, has gone into liquidation. After a couple of days of speculation surrounding the future of the company in mid-November, director Nick Donald said in an interview with the Derby Telegraph that he had been forced to shut the business down, as the firm had expanded too rapidly for him to cope with it. The company was founded in 2010 and grew to employ 23 people, winning Car Dealer Magazine’s Used Car Dealership of the Year Over 100 Cars award in 2014 and the Sales Team of the Year Award in 2015. More recently, co-founder Jamie Caple had left the company and the business had been scaled down. We were unable to reach Donald for comment, but in a short interview with the Derby Telegraph he stated: ‘Unfortunately I have had to liquidate the business. It has been six years of hard graft from me and it became something I could not personally handle. We became too big too soon. ‘Someone will be taking over the site but it will be nothing to do with me or Caralot. Morally, we were a really good business but we appear to have become victims of our own success.’
Above: Jamie Caple, left, Nick Donald and Captain Caralot in early 2015. Right: Success at the 2014 Used Car Awards A press release is due from Donald’s accountant in due course. Customers took to Facebook to comment on the firm’s demise. Rhona Sylvester said: ‘Such a shame. I bought the best car I’ve ever had off them.’ And Kym Reeve had sympathy for the staff, saying: ‘It’s a shame for those losing their jobs so close to Christmas.’ The firm built up a reputation for being social media savvy. With the
superhero Captain Caralot as their mascot, the team enjoyed a high profile on Twitter and Facebook and were among the first car dealerships to embrace the platforms to help with sales and marketing. Caralot was the subject of a six-page feature in issue 83 of Car Dealer. Jamie Caple said at the time: ‘We’re very proud of our social media and we think it has been very effective.’
New section of popular Car Dealer forum up and running THE Car Dealer team have launched a new area of our popular forum that offers qualifying members a space to openly discuss topics. Called the Private Advanced Members’ Lounge, it is for dealers only and will not be searchable by Google. This will be a section of the Car Dealer Forum where dealers can chat freely without feeling customers might find them. The existing General Dealer Chat forum where all members can post will continue, along with Buy & Sell, Buy & Sell Trade Cars, Frequently Asked
Questions for those new to the motor trade and Stolen Vehicle & Fraud Warnings. However, to gain access to the private forum dealers must: 1. Have posted more than 25 posts in the open forums. 2. Be a genuine dealer. We will background check all applicants and as a bare minimum, a copy of your trade insurance must be supplied to email@example.com. 3. Once approved we will give you access to the Private Members’ Lounge so you can start chatting. Car Dealer Magazine founder James
Baggott commented: ‘This will be carefully monitored and members will be removed for breaking the privacy of this forum. ‘As usual, no blatant advertising will be allowed, and also you need to play nicely in there – no bullying! ‘If you were already a member of our Buy & Sell Trade Cars section you will have automatically been upgraded. ‘We hope you find this new area useful and we look forward to seeing you in there.’ You can access the forum via the Car Dealer website. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 25
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Going for gold: Mal is given a hero’s welcome
(even though he’s not really an Olympic champion!)
Nissan has produced special gold Leafs to mark the achievements of our top Olympians. Mal Hay took one on a major tour of the manufacturer’s UK outlets.
s the Official Automotive Partner of Team GB and ParalympicsGB for this summer’s Rio Games, Nissan generously gave some of our gold medallists a little bit of extra shiny metal for their collections… in the form of gold-wrapped Nissan Leafs. To mark their stunning achievements and the production of the special car, Mal Hay from the manufacturer’s dealer PR service went on an extensive tour of UK Nissan dealers in one of the special-edition all-electric cars. Little did he realise what a star he would turn out to be, being chased by families, applauded through traffic lights and having selfies taken with his adoring fans. It wasn’t all sweetness and light, however, as many people realised Mal wasn’t an Olympian, despite the logos and slogans on the car to the contrary, and enjoyed taking the mickey. Here we present his highlights of the 18-day trip that took him from the Home Counties to the far reaches of Scotland, across the water to Northern Ireland and down to Plymouth. *We promise that no Lycra was used in the making of this feature.
Golden boy Mal Hay with the special Olympic Leaf
MAL’S HIGHLIGHTS OF THE GOLD LEAF TOUR DAY 1 As a fat fortysomething, my days of dreaming about sporting stardom are well and truly behind me. But today, for the first time, I got the chance to experience first-hand a little of what it must feel like to be a triumphant athlete returning from Rio 2016 with a gold medal. And it felt AMAZING! Everywhere I drove in the gold Leaf I was aware of heads being turned and phones being pointed in my direction. Just one day in to Nissan Insider’s Gold Leaf tour and I’ve had honked horns, blown kisses, fist pumps, a salute from a policeman and cheers from a group of builders. DAY 2 The visible sense of disappointment people show when they see me rather than one of their Rio 2016 heroes emerge from the car reached a new high (or should that be low!) today. I’m sorry to admit I actually made a little girl cry. As the Electric Highway powered up the car I took a stroll to grab a coffee. When I returned, I found a young girl, a seven-year-old called Katie, waiting by the Leaf with her family stood nearby. After some coaxing from mum she plucked up the courage to speak to me and asked politely and expectantly which gold-winning Olympian would be turning up to drive the car away. When I told her the only person she’d be meeting was me, she burst into floods of tears.
The car attracted attention wherever it went
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Only my promise to send her Max Whitlock’s autograph stopped the waterworks and, thankfully, we parted on good terms. DAY 3 In my job, I drive tens of thousands of miles a year and thought I’d seen most things there are to see on the road. But until today I’d never received a spontaneous round of applause at a set of traffic lights. I had just stopped for a red light at a busy crossing in the centre of a sleepy Norfolk town at lunchtime. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed one pedestrian excitedly notice the car and peer inside. Then more looked through the window, then a few lifted out their phones and began recording. Not wishing to disappoint and not having the time to explain, I offered a nod, a wink and the odd thumbs-up just as any obliging ‘celebrity’ would do, all the while hoping the lights would change to green. So, with the lights stubbornly refusing to change, and with the crowd on both sides of the car having swollen to around 30, the nightmare scenario presented itself. Shock horror! Someone started to clap. And yep, you’ve guessed it, those around him soon joined in and before you could say ‘on your marks, set, go’ I was at the centre of what can only be described as a guard of honour.
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Today I visited Edwin May in Coleraine, Wilsons of Rathkenny and Charles Hurst in Northern Ireland before crossing back to Scotland and making a fleeting stop at the new Crossflags showroom in Dumfries. I’ll be heading to J Edgar & Son in Rowrah bright and early tomorrow.
Back to Scotland
I headed to Mackie in Glasgow and Parks in Ayr before reaching the southern tip of Scotland and boarding a ferry for Northern Ireland.
On to Northern Ireland
I managed to cover an incredible 182 miles on today’s leg of the journey, which included just two top-ups. I visited Marshall Nissan in Lincoln; Thurlby Motors in Louth; Trenton Grimsby; Harratts Pontefract; Pentagon Huddersfield and Colin Appleyard, Keighley. DAY
Lincoln to Keighley
Starting in Leeds, the tour took me to Mill Garage in Knaresborough following an early-morning charge on the Electric Highway. Then it was on to Alexanders in York; SG Petch in Durham; Evans Halshaw in Sunderland and Lookers in Gateshead, where the car drew the biggest crowd so far. After that, I stopped off quickly at Lookers’ sister site in Newcastle for a rapid charge before heading to Hexham.
Leeds to Hexham
Today’s journey took me from Newcastle to Alnwick and on to DS Dalgleish in Galashiels; Alex F Noble in Midlothian; and finally Western Nissan’s super sparkly new showroom in Edinburgh, where the car will be spending the weekend. In all, I covered 147 miles, powering up twice.
Newcastle to Edinburgh
I dropped the car off at Chorley Nissan before heading home for the weekend by rail. I’d had a great day, visiting the fabulous new showroom at J Edgar and Son in Rowrah before knocking off for the weekend.
Departing from Western Nissan, I headed for Specialist Cars in Perth, where the car was given another warm welcome, before moving on to see the lovely folk at Mackie Motors in Arbroath, partner dealership of Team Eilish McColgan.
Perth and Arbroath
Day 13: Rowrah to Chorley
Warm welcomes all around the country as Mal Hay and his gold-coloured Nissan Leaf hit the road.
Nissan Gold Leaf UK tour DASHBOARD.
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It started in Exeter; took me to Hamiltons Nissan in Sidmouth; on to the lovely folk at Exeter Nissan and into Cornwall where I visited West End Motors, Bodmin. After that it was on to Town and Country in Truro before finishing at Vospers in Plymouth.
Day 18: Exeter to Plymouth
I headed from Swansea to Roundabout of Neyland in Pembrokeshire. The 30kWh Leaf took the 114-mile round trip in its stride. I visited J&J Motors on that same leg of the journey and then, after charging, went on to Bassetts in Bridgend; Griffin Mill in Pontypridd; Newtown Motors in Cwmbran; Five Acres in Coleford; Wessex Garagesâ€™ super-site at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol and Howards in Weston-super-Mare.
Day 17: Wales to Weston
Today I started my journey on the outskirts of Liverpool before heading to Holdcroft in Northwich; Slaters in Abergele; Greenhous in Shrewsbury; WR Davies in Telford; Brindley in Cannock and Hylton in Worcester before heading to my overnight stop in Gloucester.
Liverpool to Gloucester
The tour took me from Banbury to Arbury in Leamington Spa then West Way Nissan in Coventry; Colliers in Birmingham; Nissan Birmingham Central; Polesworth Garage near Tamworth; Sandicliffe in Nottingham and Stoneacre in Worksop. I covered a total of 146 miles.
I visited Shelbourne Motors; Derek Loane; Kehoe Cars; Pat Kirk and Donnelly & Taggart. In all, I travelled 140 miles, charging just once.
I started with a trip from Banbury to Aylesbury Nissan, partner dealership of double gold medallist Max Whitlock, then on to Ancaster Nissan in Slough, which supports legendary Paralympian David Weir. After that it was on to Bishops Nissan in Guildford, partners of gold-medal-winning rower George Nash, before heading on to Barnard and Brough in Haywards Heath and then Yeomans Nissan in Eastbourne.
Banbury to Eastbourne
Today we visited SLM Nissan, partner dealership of track cyclist Ciara Horne; KAP in Folkestone; Dumpton Park Nissan; Baileys in Canterbury and Motorline in Maidstone. In all, we covered 199 miles, charging twice along the route and topping up quickly before leaving Maidstone.
East Sussex and Kent
Today I visited Glyn Hopkin Romford; Toomey in Basildon; Hammonds in Bury St Edmunds; Ames in Thetford; Crayford and Abbs in Holt and finally Desira in Norwich. In all, I covered 196 miles.
Essex and East Anglia
In all, I covered 342 miles today. Starting in Gloucester, I visited Fish Brothers, Swindon; Rowstock, Newbury; Martins of Winchester; Sparshatts, Southampton; Westover Salisbury; Dorchester Nissan; F J Chalke in Wincanton and Platinum, Trowbridge. I charged three times before a trip to Wales.
Day 16: Gloucester to Trowbridge
I collected the gold Leaf at Chorley Preston, where it had spent the weekend on display in the showroom. It was then on to Fred Coupe; David Hayton; Barton Townley; Firsway of Leigh; Warrington Motors; Middlehurst Nissan and Crosby Park. In all, I covered 233 miles.
Chorley to Liverpool
Starting in Norwich, I took in an earlymorning stop at J S Holmes in Wisbech St Mary. After that, it was on to Smiths Nissan in Peterborough; Nissan Leicester; Richard Sanders in Kettering and Bristol Street Motors in Northampton â€“ a total of 206 miles and charging just once along the way.
Norwich to Northampton
DASHBOARD. MAL’S HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TOUR CONT’D DAY 5 As the tour’s taken me north into more sharptongued territory, the wit’s become a little more direct. So far today I’ve had, ‘well, there’s no way this car belongs to you,’ and ‘who’d you nick the car off, mate?’ My favourite, though, outside a service station in Tamworth, was ‘which gold medallist did you eat, pal?’ Remarkably, despite the occasional bit of banter, the number of conversations the car sparks is incredible. At every stop I make, I can guarantee at least five or six people are going to approach me and, once the initial questions are out of the way, the talk invariably turns to their experiences of watching Team GB’s triumphs in Rio. It’s fabulous to be part of it. DAY 7 Today, for the first time on our Gold Leaf Tour, I came across someone who was underwhelmed by the staggeringly shiny car before them and by the prospect that they may be in the presence of a gold-medal-winning Olympian. Not surprisingly, this happened in Yorkshire – a county where people are notoriously difficult to impress – and in the drive-through lane of a chain of restaurants made famous by a clown. There I was at the window waiting for my coffee and being ignored by the server when I overhead the following question from a staff member to a colleague: ‘Oi, what’s the deal with that goldy car out there?’ At this point, said colleague poked his head out of the window, silently surveyed both me and the car (modestly emblazoned with the words ‘Rio 2016 Gold Medallist’) and replied, totally deadpan, ‘It’s t’lympics or summat’, before handing me my drink without so much as a please or thank you.
Mal’s gold Leaf on a charge
Another warm welcome for the gold Leaf DAY 9 Having enjoyed a lovely weekend at home, I returned to the Gold Leaf Tour today. Fully expecting to be the centre of attention again, I set off full of anticipation and soon cruised to a stop at the first set of lights I encountered. But something was clearly wrong. Minutes passed and still no-one had given me so much as a sideways glance. It was at this point I remembered I was driving my wife’s bright red Leaf to the railway station and the gold Leaf was parked 400 miles away at Western Nissan in Edinburgh. Having had the car on display in the brand spanking new Western Nissan showroom over the weekend, John Latrobe, Andrew Oag and the team had her waiting outside with a full charge and a fresh shine. And as I pulled up in my taxi I was pleased to notice a number of customers, phones in hand, taking pictures. Apparently, the car had been causing a stir all weekend. DAY 11 If you’re the slightly portly fiftysomething fella in the grips of a midlife crisis who was driving his Porsche 911 cabriolet round Newry with the roof down, I need to apologise. You were looking awesome with your Aviators on and your mullet slicked back perfectly as you rolled up to the lights in the centre of town. And you definitely got the attention of the group of very attractive young women standing nearby. How was I to know they’d walk straight past you and your fancy car and start taking photographs of me in the gold Leaf? You looked
most put out as you roared away from the lights in a cloud of tyre smoke but it wasn’t my fault! DAY 14 Somewhere in the south of the Lake District tonight there’s an ice-cream man being ridiculed by his friends as he shows them a photograph taken with me earlier and tries to convince them I’m a gold-medal-winning athlete. So blinded by the dazzling gold Leaf was he that he failed to notice my lack of athleticism as he approached me with a free Mr Whippy to congratulate me on my achievements in Rio. Before I could explain that I wasn’t really a sporting hero he thrust the 99 into my hand and proceeded to tell me, without ever pausing for breath, just how amazingly fantastic the Games had been and how proud he was of our achievements. By the time he eventually finished talking I was in too deep to disappoint him. So, there I stood, between the gold Leaf and an ice-cream van, with my new biggest fan’s arms around me and holding an ice-cream cone aloft like an Olympic Torch, as a passer-by captured the moment on camera. DAY 18: The end of the road Well, that’s all, folks! The Gold Leaf Tour is no more. It’s deceased, pushing up the daisies and has shuffled off this mortal coil. Travelling the length and breadth of the country in this special car has been amazing. Being on the receiving end of the abundance of love the great British public has for its finest athletes has been a privilege I’ll never forget. [CD]
CAR DEALER REPORTER SIMON DAVIS HAS HIS FIRST DRIVE IN AN ELECTRIC CAR UNTIL this month, I’d never had a go in an electric car. So when Nissan lent us one of the gold-wrapped Leafs it made for gold-medalwinning Olympic brand ambassadors, I jumped at the chance to get behind the wheel. My planned route was by no means a marathon effort – it would see me cover a mere 17 miles from Car Dealer Towers in Gosport to home in Portsmouth. Textbook stuff. However, as the starting gun went – I mean, 30 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
as I set off – I noticed I was getting far more attention than usual. A terrifying thought began to creep into my head – was I being mistaken for a British gold medallist? This made me uncomfortable for two reasons: the first being I’m actually from New Zealand, and the second being that I’m by no means an athlete. I feel unstable in a light breeze.
So there I was, sitting in traffic with passersby giving me the thumbs up and cheering me on. The only thing I could do was smile back. While the Leaf’s instantaneous torque did provide me with quite a lot of fun on my journey, thanks to all the attention I had never been more relieved to arrive back home.
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Around the world Dealer news from somewhere other than here
A CONMAN pretended to be a doctor to steal a car from a dealership in Srinagar Colony, near Hyderabad in the south of the country, the Indian Express reported. The 35-year-old said he was interested in buying an Audi before taking a Q3 for a spin. He persuaded an accompanying salesman from Nani Cars to get out of the vehicle for a few moments so he could show it to his colleagues at the hospital where he worked, but could not be traced after driving into the compound.
MAZDA is unveiling the updated version of its CX-5 crossover at the Los Angeles motor show which runs until November 27. The Japanese company says the new car will be refined in ‘all aspects of design and technology’ with the existing car’s Kodo design language ‘taken to the next level’. A teaser image seems to show a new, slightly sportier stance, with a swooping roofline and a rear door that seems to have been stretched along the car’s flank.
THE new car market in Mexico is booming. And as the country is quite young demographically, a lot of the growth is centred on small, entry-level vehicles. ‘Sub-compact’ models, led by products from Nissan and Volkswagen, made up 37 per cent of sales in September, with the overall market up 18 per cent year-on-year.
GEELY is planning to introduce a new car to Europe in 2018 under the newly-launched Lynk & Co brand. Geely, the Chinese conglomerate which owns Volvo and the London Taxi Company, recently took the wraps off the car, an SUV which will go on sale in China next year and arrive in Europe afterwards. The new model – the Lynk 01 – was designed in Sweden at Geely’s ‘China-Europe Vehicle Technology Centre’. The Lynk 01 is described as ‘the most connected car ever’ and will also herald the arrival of car-sharing schemes linked directly to the Lynk brand. Rebecca Chaplin, p15
AUTOMOTIVE video technology expert CitNOW has reached the other side of the world, with its first video being produced at a dealership in Australia. Using CitNOW’s app-based smartphone technology, CitNOW’s sales director Gordon Grant recorded and streamed a video presentation of a vehicle workshop at a Volkswagen dealership in Melbourne.
www.desperateseller.co.uk | www.facebook.com/desperateseller.co.uk | twitter.com/despseller
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FINANCE. A couple of winter warmers to give MG sales a boost MG MOTOR UK has announced a range of tempting special offers this winter, that make driving its MG3 supermini and MG GS SUV even more affordable. Available until the end of December, the zero per cent finance deals are sure to attract more buyers to the brand. MG’s next-generation supermini – the MG3, right – is designed to be fun on the inside and stylish on the outside. With generous levels of technology, from distinctive LED daytime running lights to DAB radio and Bluetooth audio streaming, the car represents good value for money, retailing at £8,399. With special offers ranging from zero per cent APR (with a 20 per cent deposit), a £900 contribution towards a buyer’s deposit when financed on a personal contract purchase (PCP), or a range of personal (PCH) and business (BCH) contract hire packages from
Why it’s time to cut number of ‘footprints’
just £99 per month, there’s no better time to join the MG3 party. The striking MG GS SUV is a capable family runaround. With deals including a £660 contribution towards a buyer’s deposit when financed on a personal contract purchase (PCP), zero per cent APR with a 20 per cent deposit monthly finance option and
a five-year / 80,000-mile (whichever occurs first) manufacturer parts and labour warranty, buyers will find obtaining a car is easier than ever. Matthew Cheyne, head of sales and marketing for MG Motor UK, said: ‘Our tempting range of special offers aims to give drivers an early Christmas present.’
Jean-Louis is named new boss of RCI companies MD and CEO ‘delighted to be tasked with moving the two brands forward’
CI Financial Services and RCI Bank UK have announced the appointment of Jean-Louis Labauge as managing director and CEO, with immediate effect. Labauge succeeds Steve Gowler who is retiring from a 25-year career in various roles throughout the RenaultNissan Alliance. Labauge has worked with RCI Bank and Services, the financial provider of Groupe Renault, for 20 years and takes up his new position having previously held the role of deputy managing director at RCI Financial Services. He joined the team in the UK after creating Nissan Renault Financial Services India in 2013. Before that
he held positions at RCI Bank and Services in Europe. Labauge will be responsible for 265 employees in the UK and the Renault, Nissan, Dacia and Infiniti brands. Labauge, pictured, is 48 years old and married with three children. He is a graduate of HEC business school, Paris, and holds a degree in accounting and finance. He said: ‘RCI Bank provides a unique offering in the UK and we have more products on the horizon. RCI Financial Services provides a huge number of services to the British public
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every year and I’m delighted to be tasked with moving the two brands forward. The new role is an exciting opportunity for me and I look forward to working hard to achieve further growth and success.’ RCI Financial Services is a limited company, registered in the UK and regulated by the FCA. It arranges finance and related insurances for private consumers and business users through the Renault, Dacia, Nissan and Infiniti UK dealer networks. RCI Bank UK was launched in the UK in June 2015 and is the only vehicle finance company which is active in the UK savings market.
MOTOR finance companies need to adopt technology that allows them to credit check a potential customer without leaving a footprint on their file, says Startline Motor Finance. CEO Paul Burgess, below, explained that multiple footprints on customer files held by credit-checking agencies tended to lead to a reduced credit rating – but that in 2016, with more and more customers shopping around for finance, the whole approach was out of date.
He said: ‘The underlying assumption is that multiple credit checks on a customer’s file are a sign that they are often frequently rejected for credit or try to take out a lot of credit. However, this is just not true in 2016.’ Burgess said that Startline had this month adopted new technology called Quotation Search that allowed footprint-free searching of credit files. ‘It seems to us a highly desirable principle that a footprint should only be left if the deal is accepted and written – and we are now in a position where we can achieve this.’
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
Christmas is coming so why not celebrate at your dealership? C
hristmas is just around the corner and we’re all starting to dream about our Yorkshire puddings, roast tatties and for the brave of us, Brussels sprouts. As a meat eater, I can’t wait for my pigs in blankets, roast turkey and luscious ham joint. (Oh, and the presents!) But let’s not get carried away here, we still have almost two months of business to attend to first. We are, of course, entering the quietest months of the year and need to do whatever we can to secure the available business that is out there! So what do you have planned, if anything? One key thing I would say is that Facebook seems to be everyone’s answer when we’re asking this question.
‘Send a text message to all past customers with a winter offer.’ Although I believe Facebook is most definitely a great source of customers and leads, it has also become overpopulated with adverts recently, especially within our market. So please don’t rely solely on this medium to market your customers – especially at this time of year. Differentiation has always been the key ingredient in marketing, and looking at a unique medium, away from an over-populated one, may be a valuable approach. I haven’t been wowed by many of the marketing campaigns I have seen recently and I would say this is due to the significant rise of social media marketing and the minimal content it allows. You don’t need to spend a fortune on marketing to be effective, as some of the greatest campaigns are the
Garside TIME IS MONEY
simplest. One of my favourite areas in marketing is MarComs (marketing communications) and these can include: advertising, direct marketing, branding, packaging, your online presence, printed materials, PR activities, sales presentations, sponsorships, trade show appearances and more. From a PR perspective, maybe you could have an exciting opportunity by organising a Santa’s Grotto for the day. This doesn’t have to involve a large amount of expenditure as it could be done at a small cost to parents, who would probably be happy to take their young ones to see Santa without having to deal with the high cost and stressful time of visiting a busy city centre location. Sponsorships are a nifty little way of getting your name and messages out there. You can sponsor almost anything at this time of year as there are a lot of events and gatherings happening. If targeted correctly, you can
Turn over page for more finance stories get your messages in front of potential customers for a minimal cost per impression. Or maybe you could just send a text message to all your past customers with a winter offer. How happy would they be to receive a Christmas text message with a moneyoff offer and a free mince pie and brandy when they visit? Just make sure they aren’t driving afterwards. Well, you have just a few weeks of 2016 remaining so enjoy them. Do something wacky and creative with your time, keeping not only your own morale high but also the morale of your employees or colleagues. We all love fun, cheer and celebrations, so start the celebrations at your dealership.
Who is Ben Garside? Ben is marketing manager for First Response Finance. Call him on 07817 518739 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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FINANCE. YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO . . . CITY CARS CITROEN C1
THE Hyundai i10 has been one of the brand’s top sellers, and there are good reasons for that – it comes with a great range of accessories and superb levels of comfort. Teamed with low running costs and excellent efficiency, it is a tantalising option. Hyundai is currently offering the i10 in Premium trim on a 37-month contract for £140.45 per month. Following a customer deposit of £2,500 and a Hyundai contribution of £500, a buyer pays 36 monthly instalments which add up to £8,056.20. If the customer then chooses to hold on to the vehicle, he or she faces an optional final payment of £3,937.50 making the total sum paid £11,493.70, which is £718.70 above the OTR price. The car also equipped with hill start assist control, a brake assist system and an emergency stop signal.
THE Citroen C1 has become one of the leading options in the sector. In the Flair Edition trim, Citroen also pack it with a multitude of great features such as a reversing camera, seven-inch touchscreen with infotainment system and braking assistance. Currently on offer, the C1 Flair Edition fitted with a 1.2-litre PureTech engine is available for £126.57 per month on a 37-month contract. With a deposit of £3,000, which includes a £500 contribution from Citroen, a customer pays £7,556.52 over the duration of the contract. If they choose to keep the C1 Flair, they can pay the optional final payment of £4,959 meaning a total of £12,015.52 has been parted with, £620.52 more than the OTR price. As an alternative and stylish option in the supermini market, the C1 Flair Edition comes with plenty of personalisation options too.
Initial wave of FCA final notices ‘could be first of many’ warning New era of motor finance regulation finally beginning, says iVendi
he initial wave of final notices issued by the Financial Conduct Authority to dealers could be the ‘first of many’, iVendi has warned. James Tew, CEO at the online motor finance specialist, pictured above right, points to the reason given by the FCA – ‘failing to be open and co-operative in the consumer credit sector’ – as an indication that a new era of motor finance regulation is finally beginning. He said: ‘To some extent, we have been in a holding pattern since the new FCA consumer credit regime came into effect but, with this first wave of motor dealer notices, we are very much seeing the regulator get down to business. ‘Issuing five a short time is, 16:01:17 Carin Dealer Bannerperiod 2.pdf 1 of 05/08/2016 C
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by DAVE BROWN @CarDealerDave
compared to the old system of regulation, actually quite a high number and could be a signal of intent. We believe the FCA is possibly setting out its stall and these could be the first of many.’ Tew said that news about the notices (see the red panel on the right for an example) should serve as a warning to dealers that they have no choice but to ensure their motor finance procedures are compliant. ‘Even at this stage, we are coming across dealers who have not really got their head around all the implications of providing customers with
meaningful choice, accurate information and consistency across their organisation. We have been identifying these as part of the work we are doing to use the iVendi Platform to help with FCA compliance, adopting our existing technology to make the tracking and recording of customer behaviour much easier for dealers.’ James explained that this enabled dealers to access records detailing the activity of customers both online and in the showroom. ‘Data includes the products they have looked at, the quotes generated, and how the original deal evolved into the final deal. ‘All of this information would be easily available in the event of FCA investigations of the kind that are now happening.’
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EQUIPPED with parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and an array of useful safety features, the Kia Picanto is well suited to urban driving. With an efficient range of petrol engines, expect more than 60mpg and low running costs when paired with a manual gearbox. In the SE trim fitted with a one-litre 65bhp petrol engine, Kia is offering the Picanto for £127.80 per month on a 37-month contract. With a £3,200 deposit – including a £700 Kia contribution – and the 36 monthly payments of £127.80, the customer will have paid £7,800.80 by the end of the contract. To keep the Picanto, the customer can make the optional payment of £3,555, taking the full total for the driver to £10,655.80, which is just £110.80 over the OTR price. Kia also offers the Kia Care-3 and Care-3 Plus servicing plans (three and five services respectively) for £299 and £599. C
Middlesex-based Motor Spot Ltd is banned from arranging client finance
Major change to senior leadership team announced
MIDDLESEX-based used car dealership Motor Spot Ltd has been stopped from arranging finance for customers. The Financial Conduct Authority has withdrawn consumer credit permissions from the independent business, which is in Uxbridge Road, saying that it didn’t comply with the legal obligation to submit a return. In its notice, the FCA said: ‘MSL has not been open and co-operative in all its dealings with the authority.’ The private limited company has a sole director and shareholder – 53-year-old Tasnim Qaisar – who was appointed to the role on November 4, 2013, the same day the business was incorporated, according to Companies House, which said that its last annual return was made up to November 4, 2015. On February 9 this year, the Registrar of Companies gave notice that it intended to dissolve the company and strike it off the register after two months if cause was not shown to the contrary, but the striking-off action was discontinued.
BLACK Horse has announced anK important change to its senior leadership team. Jim McCaffrey is joining as director of product, proposition and business enablement, having previously held a similar role in the insurance division of Lloyds Banking Group. In his new role, he will lead the delivery of Black Horse strategy and initiatives to support the growth of the business. This will include product development and the ongoing investment in the digital capability of Black Horse. McCaffrey has a wealth of experience in proposition and product design plus strategy development and distribution, having most recently led the Lloyds Banking Group Financial Planning and Retirement Programme.
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All Big Mike’s columns are on our website. Enjoy them here bit.ly/bigmike
I thought I’d seen every trick in the book – I was wrong!
’ve been in the motor trade for the thick end of five decades, so you’d think I’d seen every trick in the book. But last week, I came across a devious practice that not even I’d encountered before… Regular followers of this column will know that in the past couple of years, I’ve diversified a bit. Rather than flogging ordinary cars to ordinary people, largely because I’ve grown tired of the stupidity of the general public, I’ve been specialising in cars I like from the years where I remember being at the sharp end of the motor trade – really nice cars of a very high quality. In modern classics, there’s good money, and you get to meet some interesting characters. There are also fewer shysters around. However, as my recent experience proves, there are still a few. Lately, I’ve been using social media to find good stock. The enthusiasts’ groups and owners’ clubs are often a source of rich pickings for good cars from the 1980s and 1990s, and, because I’m not scared of getting my hands dirty if things need mending, I quite often pick up the odd bargain as spares or repair. So it’s no surprise, then, that a one-owner-from-new Rover 216 Convertible caught my eye. According to the ad on Facebook, it had covered just 50,000 from new, came with a stack of bills documenting its 23-year history and was completely rust-free, but didn’t start because the seller had lost the key fob, rendering it immobilised. It had been in the garage of a bungalow since the elderly owner hung up her driving gloves, so had no MOT, but it looked lovely in the pictures. As a former Rover Approved Used salesman, I know how to use diagnostic kit to get past the immobilisers on these, so it seemed worth a punt – several layers of wax, a good valet, new tyres and a fresh MOT and it’d be £1,795 on the forecourt ready for next summer, and would give me something to play with in the workshop over the winter. Not wanting to appear overly keen, I sent the seller a private message inquiring as to how much he wanted for it. An hour or so later, I got a reply telling me that £250 would buy it, so I agreed there and then to drive over and collect it the following day. Imagine my surprise, then, when he replied to my request for his address telling me he’d ‘get back to me’. Later that evening,
Big Mike OUR MAN ON THE INSIDE SPILLS THE BEANS ON THE CAR BUSINESS...
I received a text message written in something vaguely resembling English, in which the Neanderthal had already decided I was his mate, or more specifically ‘M8’, despite the fact we’d never met. ‘Sorry M8, got the price wrong. I spoke to my M8 wot owns it and I need £350.’ My response, as you’d no doubt expect, was to suggest to him that he may wish to move forwards and procreate, ideally with himself. Imagine my surprise, then, when browsing a wellknown classifieds website, which shares its name with the Australian name for a Eucalyptus tree, to find the very same car advertised, with the same set of photographs, in a much better worded advertisement. Out of curiosity, I phoned the number at the bottom of the ad and ended up chatting to a very well-spoken lady
‘In short, he was trying to sell a car that he didn’t actually own.’ who was, she revealed, the original owner’s daughter. She’d had one inquiry on the car ‘from a rather rude young man who’d offered her a hundred pounds for it’ and then got rather grumpy with her when she suggested it must be worth at least £250. It seems that the original Facebook seller didn’t own the car at all, but was trying to sell it for a mark-up before he’d even looked at it, without driving it, and without any knowledge of the car whatsoever, other than the very same advert that I had stumbled across. In short, he was trying to sell a car that he didn’t actually own – how many times he’d done this before, I do not know. The following day, I brought the car home on my flatbed. It needs four tyres, a cambelt and some new key fobs programming, which will stand me at about £250 worth of rectification when it’s all done. I should make a bag of sand on it come the spring, but unlike the unethical ne’er-do-well who tried to sell it to me in the first place, I’ll have done so openly and honestly, with a car that’s actually mine to sell!
Who is Big Mike?
Well, that would be telling. What we do know is he’s had more than 40 years in the car trade and picked up some incredible tales along the way. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 39
It somehow manages to look understated, imposing and elegant in equal measure.
In 20 seconds, the roof of the R8 Spyder can go from up to down in a very dramatic fashion.
Audi R8 Spyder
Its party piece is how docile and easy to drive it can be when you’re not stamping on the loud pedal at every opportunity.
Darren Cassey is very impressed by a supercar that packs a considerable performance punch in a truly exquisite package. WHAT IS IT?
WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE?
The latest-generation Audi R8 coupe has been on the market for a year now, so aside from the Spyder’s retractable roof there’s nothing particularly new to shout about. That’s not a problem, though, because the roof’s opening and closing mechanism is certainly worth a mention. It takes 20 seconds to complete its movement, with the rear deck lifting up as arms twist and turn to accommodate the cloth canopy.
It’s hard to talk about something that costs a six-figure sum being value for money, but when you look at the build quality, performance and desirability in comparison to its rivals, it does seem like something of a steal. With a starting price of £129,990, it’s less expensive than a Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet and much more exciting to look at, too. Audi’s stunning Virtual Cockpit, which replaces the traditional dials with a configurable 12.3-inch screen, comes as standard. Also fitted at no extra cost are 19-inch alloy wheels, LED front and rear lights, Nappa leather interior upholstery and a complimentary Audi R8 driving experience. There are countless expensive options to choose from. ‘Our’ R8 Spyder came with about £30,000-worth of extras.
WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET? There are few cars that pack quite such a performance punch into such an exquisite package, and the R8 Spyder does with its glorious naturally aspirated 5.2-litre engine. Few keen drivers will be left anything other than overjoyed by the experience. This gives you 532bhp and 540Nm of torque through the all-wheel drive system and pins you to the seat. 40 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? Once you’re behind the wheel, you start to forget about any
impracticalities. Thumb the big, red wheel-mounted starter button and the motor stutters for a moment before unleashing the sound of 10 glorious cylinders. It’ll stir something deep within even those who claim not to care about such things. The R8 Spyder is something of a battering ram, offering searing performance whenever you stamp the throttle.
WHAT DO THE PRESS THINK? Auto Express said ‘As makers add turbochargers to their cars to meet ever-stricter emissions targets, the naturally aspirated engine is falling out of favour, and in some ways the R8 is a fantastic last hurrah.’
WHAT DO WE THINK? The Audi R8 Spyder is not a sensible purchase. It’s something that can only be justified by how it makes you feel in your heart and for car enthusiasts that stunning, naturally aspirated V10 engine alone is worth the price of admission.
THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Audi R8 Spyder V10 Price (as tested): £162,790 Engine: 5.2-litre FSI petrol Power: 532bhp Torque: 540Nm 0-60mph: 3.6 seconds Top speed: 197mph Economy: 24.1mpg Emissions: 277g/km
TARGET BUYERS: People who want a weekend car without the considerable compromises such vehicles usually come with.
THE RIVALS: Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet, Ferrari California T, Jaguar F-Type Convertible.
KEY SELLING POINTS: 1. Sublime performance. 2. Fantastic build quality. 3. The wonderful sound of the car’s V10 engine.
DEAL CLINCHER: Scintillating performance, and with the roof down you’re even closer to that sonorous V10 engine note.
The F1-style steering wheel makes it a special car to drive.
The folding mechanism is a joy to watch in action.
The California is a useable 2+2, but only for children in those back seats.
It’s a bargain of sorts – but does it deliver traditional Ferrari thrills and driving excitement? James Baggott reports. WHAT IS IT?
WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE?
Meet the California T HS – the tweaked version of the manufacturer’s folding hard-top family Ferrari. With two seats in the back for small children and a V8 turbo-charged lump up-front, this is the convertible Italian supercar for those who need to carry more than one significant other. New for the Handling Speciale model are some stiffer springs, a louder exhaust and some ever-so-subtle design tweaks – which you’ll be charged £5,568 to add to an everexpanding list of options.
The Handling Speciale pack makes the gear shifts sharper, the front and rear springs stiffer and adds a new, louder exhaust system. Lookswise, there’s a new front grille, tweaked rear diffuser and tail pipes and a special badge in the cabin. Ok, so a Ferrari isn’t going to win any accessibility awards, but this is a sports car and comes with sports car compromises. Put the front seats back to anything less than a knee-crushing position and you lose all rear legroom. The boot is pretty cramped too.
WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET?
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
The 552bhp turbo-charged V8 has impressive breadth to its power delivery and can hit 60mph in just 3.6 seconds. Sadly the turbo engine loses some of the charms of a normally aspirated unit – it may offer improved performance, but lacks some of the aural pleasure you expect from a Ferrari.
For long-distance motorway journeys, the California T HS is a comfortable companion. Those stiffer springs and louder exhaust come into play when you select the ‘Sport’ setting on the manettino switch on the steering wheel. Hit the bumpy road button on the steering wheel too and you’ll be rewarded with a compliant ride that’s
just about perfect for our rutted roads. Despite its sports car credentials, visibility isn’t too bad.
WHAT DO THE PRESS THINK? Evo said: ‘The exterior and interior clues might be subtle but from the driver’s seat the Cali T does feel improved with the Handling Speciale package.’ CAR Magazine said: ‘We reckon it’s a better allrounder than ever.’
WHAT DO WE THINK? It’s hard not to be a little disappointed by the driving thrills the California fails to serve up. The turbo-charged engine isn’t as evocative as it could be and the sound certainly lacks the excitement of a Ferrari, that’s for sure. However, for families that need flexible space, want the style of a convertible but with the added refinery of a folding hard top, and for whom anything less than a Ferrari badge simply won’t do, the California will hit the spot.
THE KNOWLEDGE Model:
Ferrari California T Handling Speciale Price (as tested): £215,011 Engine: 3.8-litre V8 Turbo Power: 552bhp Torque: 755Nm 0-60mph: 3.6 seconds Top speed: 196mph Economy: 27mpg Emissions: 250g/km
TARGET BUYERS: California buyers are family men or women who need the occasional flexibility of carrying more than one passenger.
THE RIVALS: Audi R8 Spyder, Porsche 911 Turbo, Lamborghini Huracan.
KEY SELLING POINTS: 1. It’s the entry-level Ferrari so attainable by more buyers. 2. It has the ability to carry the kids too, unlike the 488. 3. It’s comfortable on longdistance drives.
DEAL CLINCHER: It’s a convertible Ferrari at almost-sensible prices. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 41
FORECOURT. NEW ENGINE
The car is equipped with a new Euro-6 compliant e-XDi diesel engine.
The Musso has benefited from a redesign, making it far more attractive and bringing it into line with the existing Tivoli.
The only option is double cab, meaning five can fit comfortably inside.
Can the SsangYong Musso muscle in on the pick-up scene and take on well-established rivals? Andrew Evans reports. WHAT IS IT? The Musso is largely an updated version of the Korando Sports pickup, but with a new name brought back from SsangYong’s past. Musso – Korean for ‘rhinoceros’ – brings not only an exterior update and rebadge, but also a new engine. It’s roomy and comfortable enough to accommodate the kids when not put to work. Specify the optional load cover and the dogs can come too.
WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET? The Musso introduces a Euro 6-compliant 2.2-litre e-XDi diesel unit for the first time. This can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a new six-speed automatic from Aisin. The new engine brings an improved punch that boosts the towing rating and brings a mild increase to the fuel economy of around five per cent, but performance is unaffected.
WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE? The Musso range starts from 42 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
£15,995 (excluding VAT) and comes equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels; leather-look seats; front and rear electric windows; power folding door mirrors; manual air conditioning; CD & RDS Radio with iPod & Bluetooth connectivity and a multifunction steering wheel. Our EX Auto specification vehicle adds black 18-inch alloy wheels; roof rails; leather seats – heated in the front and electrically-adjustable for the driver; a seven-inch touchscreen for operating the infotainment; rear-view camera with parking sensors; front LED daytime running lights; auto headlamps; rain-sensing wipers and cruise control for £17,995. The sixspeed automatic gearbox is a £1,000 option, so the car comes in at £18,995 (excluding VAT; £22,737 with VAT).
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE Unlike the majority of vehicles in the pick-up sector, the Musso makes use of independent rear suspension. This gives it a surprisingly compliant ride.
Without the extra weight, the Musso can get a little soggy over bumps, but by and large it’s better than rivals that stick to a more basic suspension. The steering is somewhat mushy and vague though.
WHAT DO THE PRESS THINK? Autocar said that ‘the Musso is still one of the cheapest pick-ups on the market, so if saving money is your top priority, then this should be your first stop’. Auto Express said: ‘The SsangYong Musso is a genuine improvement over the Korando Sports it replaces.’
WHAT DO WE THINK? The Musso proves a commendable all-rounder but loses out to the majority of its rivals in most areas. The engine and gearbox, particularly the automatic, certainly make the Musso worthy of consideration, with the good ride delivered by the multilink rear suspension a real boon. It’s very inexpensive, too.
THE KNOWLEDGE Model: SsangYong Musso EX Auto Price (as tested): £22,737 (inc VAT) Engine: 2.2-litre turbodiesel Power: 176bhp Torque: 400Nm 0-60mph (est): 10.5 seconds Top speed: 108mph Economy: 37mpg Emissions: 202g/km
TARGET BUYERS: For tradespeople who are selfemployed and have a family, the Musso makes a lot of sense.
THE RIVALS: Mitsubishi L200, Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara.
KEY SELLING POINTS: 1. Offers great value for money. 2. Comfortable enough to use as family transport. 3. Independent rear suspension gives a nice, compliant ride.
DEAL CLINCHER: Five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.
CarDealerMag.co.uk | 43
Citroen C3 Citroen MD Bekir Hassan discusses the manufacturer moving into shopping centres When will the inner-city dealership investment start rolling out in the UK? You have things called urban projects, so this is unique to, let’s say, shopping centres where, as with some of the other brands, we’re testing the shopping centre experience as compared with the dealership experience. So that’s not going to be rolled out within the network, it’s going to be very much a retail concept within a shopping centre. So is that part of trying to reach the new and younger customers? Well, I think it’s identifying that customer habits are changing. People want convenience and we’ve got to give the customers what they want, rather than impose what we want on them, and shopping precincts are almost more of an experience these days than they are just a functional visit, buy and leave. So, we think it’s an important place for us to be in the future.
Can you see it rolling out to sit alongside traditional dealerships? Yes, very much alongside them, I think none of us really knows how far and wide they’ll be spread. Certainly, we have an appetite globally, but also in the UK. Why have you chosen Westfield shopping centre as the first UK location for these? Ultimately, that is really to put the car in front of the customers. Westfield has huge footfall, so we think it’s a brilliant way for us to get our new products and the new image of Citroen in front of the mass market. Because I suppose with a traditional dealership you have to go there with the intention of looking at the car? Very much so, but there’s a place for both and we don’t foresee any change in dealership existence, if you like, but I think this is a very nice complementary supplement rather than any future replacement, but who knows?
Darren Cassey finds Citroen’s new supermini is in its element in the inner city as well
WHAT IS IT? The C3 is Citroen’s best-selling car, and therefore a new one is a pretty big deal. It’s at the forefront of what the manufacturer calls its new model ‘offensive’ as it attempts to change public perception of the cars it makes and become a household name. The C3 is attempting to lure a younger demographic through extensive personalisation options plus smartphone and social media connectivity, without losing what Citroen is traditionally known for: comfort.
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? Inner-city driving is where the C3 excels. Thanks to its light steering, tight manoeuvres aren’t a problem, and the upright shape with low 44 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
overhangs mean it’s easy to park and place on the road. The manual gearbox isn’t particularly precise, but the clutch is light and makes stopstart traffic a little less unbearable than it might otherwise be. It rides wonderfully without too much body roll, making long-distance slogs easy. For those who do the majority of their driving in busy cities, the automatic is the sensible option. However, it’s not the smoothest gearbox and
feels like it never quite knows what to do when on country lanes where throttle inputs vary, making the manual a more relaxing drive.
WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET? There are three petrol engines on offer – with the PureTech 82 expected to be the most popular of the bunch – and two diesel engines.
WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE? Even the most basic Touch trim comes with driver alert systems, DAB digital radio with Bluetooth
There are 36 colour combinations and vast swathes of personalisation options.
Five options to choose from, comprising three petrols and two diesels.
Fresh and modern while remaining quirky enough to stand out from its competitors.
as on long distances, but there are gearbox niggles connectivity and cruise control. Mid-level Feel cars get bigger 16-inch alloy wheels and a choice of three roof colours, improved connectivity via Apple CarPlay and that impressive seven-inch touchscreen unit. Top-spec Flair models receive roof-coloured fog light surrounds and wing mirrors, reversing sensors with a rear-facing camera and Citroen’s ConnectedCAM – essentially a dashcam. It sits subtly behind the windscreen and automatically records if it senses hard braking or a crash. But it can also be used for sharing your journey with friends, posting photos and videos directly to social media after downloading via a smartphone. That side feels a bit gimmicky, but it’s a fun and useful tool.
WHAT DO THE PRESS THINK? What Car? said: ‘The Citroën C3 has the style that supermini buyers want and the quality they’ve come to expect.’ Carbuyer said it was ‘a longoverdue return to supermini form for the brand’.
WHAT DO WE THINK? It might not feel as solid and planted as rivals, but the new Citroen C3 is a big step on from its predecessor and a viable alternative to the sector’s big names. The styling is refreshingly funky, while the interior is spacious with technology that works well. True, the handling doesn’t quite stand up to rigorous questioning but it’s brilliantly easy to drive in the city, while the comfy ride makes long distances relaxing.
Model: Citroen C3 Flair Price (as tested): £14,795 Engine: PureTech 82 Power: 80bhp, 118Nm Max speed: 107mph 0-60mph: 12.8 seconds Economy: 60.1 mpg Emissions: 108g/km
TARGET BUYERS: New, younger buyers to the brand, thanks to the innovative technology.
THE RIVALS: Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208, Renault Clio.
KEY SELLING POINTS: 1. Value for money. 2. Personalisation. 3. Personality in a dull sector.
DEAL CLINCHER: Quiet and comfortable ride will set the C3 apart in its segment. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 45
A DAB radio with 4.2-inch TFT screen and cruise control are standard in the KA+ Zetec.
The model is refined and stable in cornering at high speeds and under heavy braking.
A 1.2-litre petrol is the only offering and, while economical, isn’t particularly powerful.
This updated city car is set to become a class leader in the value end of the B-segment, but did it impress Laura Thomson? WHAT IS IT? This is Ford’s replacement for its diminutive and outdated Ka. Boasting small-car simplicity combined with the Fiesta’s sleek looks, the KA+ is a practical city car that performs well at motorway speeds, too. With class-leading space, it’s set to become a new leader in the value end of the B-segment.
WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE?
Impressive, particularly in the higher-grade Zetec trim. The KA+ starts at only £8,995 in the Studio trim, which, while basic, nonetheless includes front fog lights with daytime running lights and an AM/ FM radio with a neat device dock. But the model really comes into its own in the higher-grade Zetec guise, with 15-inch alloy wheels, a DAB WHAT’S UNDER THE radio with 4.2-inch TFT screen, Ford BONNET? SYNC with Emergency Assistance A 1.2-litre petrol is the only offering, and cruise control all standard. A mated to a five-speed manual £300 upgrade to the CityPack is gearbox. The engine comes in either advisable, as this adds heated power a 69bhp or 84bhp guise – the latter of foldable mirrors, rear power windows which is exclusively available on the and rear parking sensors. higher-spec Zetec trim. In the more powerful offering, 0 to 60mph still WHAT’S IT LIKE TO takes 13.3 seconds, while the model DRIVE? has a top speed of 105mph. Despite Adapted for European drivers from its lacklustre performance, the KA+ the Indian KA+, the steering and can sit comfortably at motorway chassis set-up make it somewhat speeds, and with impressive more direct than the Fiesta, but economy figures of 56.5mpg and overall it’s reassuringly refined producing 114g/km of CO₂ it is a and stable in cornering, at high frugal option. speeds and under heavy braking. 46 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
Its Fiesta-grade hydraulic engine mounts, increased sound-deadening, different door seals and a number of aerodynamic adjustments combine to make for low road and wind noise in the cabin.
THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Ford KA+ Zetec Price: £10,295 Engine: 1 .2-litre Duratec Ti-VCT petrol Power: 84bhp Torque: XXNm 0-60mph: 13.1 seconds Max speed: 105mph Economy: 56.5mpg Emissions: 114g/km
WHAT DO THE PRESS THINK?
Auto Express said: ‘While it might not be the most stylish small car, the Ford KA+ counters this with impressive practicality. Even more impressive is the way it rides with composure and refinement.’
WHAT DO WE THINK? Ford has done an impressive job of converting a low-cost world market model for European drivers. With the basic Studio trim KA+ weighing in at under £9,000 and offering perks usually only seen in the upper end of the B-segment, the model promises to become a popular option. However, for less than £1,500 extra, more drivers are expected to opt for the 84bhp KA+ Zetec.
City drivers, and those looking for practicality and style in the lower end of the B-segment.
Vauxhall Viva, MG-3.
KEY SELLING POINTS: 1. Ford’s EasyFuel system prevents misfuelling. 2. Impressive practicability and spacious interior. 3. Economical.
The basic KA+ Studio can be picked up for less than £9,000 on the road.
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JAGUAR F-PACE PAGE 60
MERCEDES-AMG C63S PAGE 64
FORD FOCUS RS PAGE 72
BMW M2 PAGE 70
Introduction: JAMES BAGGOTT Photography: 48 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
ROLLS-ROYCE DAWN PAGE 62
AUDI R8 V10 PLUS PAGE 74
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF GTI CLUBSPORT 40 PAGE 58
PORSCHE 718 BOXSTER S PAGE 66
McLAREN 570S PAGE 68
JONATHAN FLEETWOOD Location: NORTH WALES CarDealerMag.co.uk | 49
We’ve nine fine cars to try out but which one is the best? JAMES BAGGOTT sets the scene for our annual battle of the giants amid the quiet splendour offered by Wales
’m playing a game of catch me if you can. I’m two hours behind the crowd and really rather late. The rest of this year’s RTOTY team left for Wales at sensible o’clock. I, on the other hand, did not. Duty-bound to hang around on the south coast, I’m staring the thick end of five hours of motorway monotony in the face and itching to get going. Luckily, I’ve won the first round of the RTOTY lottery. Sitting outside my house is McLaren’s ‘entry-level’ 570S, its carbon-fibre shimmering in the late summer sun. Although technically at the bottom of McLaren’s range, the 570S is hardly entry-level – costing £143,250, it’s a rival to the Porsche 911 Turbo, BMW i8 and up against one of the main contenders in this year’s RTOTY, the new Audi R8. That battle can wait, though. There’s plenty of time for those two to draw blood in the days of testing we’ve got ahead of us. We’ve managed to bring together some of the greatest cars to enter your showrooms in the past 12 months – and my word have those months been kind. We’ve been treated to a bumper crop of new metal lately – some of the most exciting, most capable and most beautiful cars we’ve seen in years – and here we’re lucky enough to pitch them head to head. Already further up the country are eight more contenders, all of them arguably as exciting as this 570S. Not that I’d believe that right now. Just 10 minutes into my drive and I’ve experienced the full-on assault on the synapses this ‘baby’ McLaren can launch – and it’s mind-boggling. Entering a motorway slipway from a full 90-left, fast-paced roundabout, I floor the throttle and we drift gymnastically around it. All smoke and big turbo whoosh. I whoop like a child who’s just scored the winner in the school football tournament – this thing makes you feel very special indeed, and I’m beaming from ear to ear. My drive to north Wales is fast and frankly silly. I watch out of the window as the carbon wing mirrors melt the lines in the road around them like a Salvador Dali painting and soon realise it’s not just me who’s mesmerised by the McLaren. Passing traffic turns paparazzi as
50 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
‘I watch out of the window as the carbon wing mirrors melt the lines in the road around them like a Salvador Dali painting.’
windows are lowered and the bronzed Brit (the car, not me) is saved to camera rolls and shared with the world. I can’t blame them – the 570S looks out of this world. The deep scoops, the McLaren logo-shaped headlights, those dihedral doors – they all add up to one spectacular machine. In fact, if I were that passing traffic, I’d be doing exactly the same thing. I arrive in Wales as dusk is settling in. The sky is painted Sunny Delight orange – a summer cocktail of colour, punctuated with wisps of ice-cream clouds. As the scenery rises out of the ground, from flat calm to the green folds of the valleys, I can’t help but think about the epic days ahead. In the end, I arrive at our Denbigh base before a few of my comrades – two of whom have seemingly taken the very long route to enjoy their challengers on the astonishing roads Wales does such a good job of hiding. After an evening of tall trip stories and some initial protective skirmishes as to which car should win, we retire – before someone gets hurt. Even now, after just mere motorway miles under
their respective belts, it’s clear this is going to be one hell of a fight.
DAY ONE Rain-heavy clouds hang from the sky like a damp duvet thrown across the Welsh valleys as we wake far too early to rendezvous at our preferred location. Known between us as The Gravel Car Park, it’s a dirty layby on the A543, which marks the start of a ribbon of roads that can test any car to its limits. Teamed with the B4501, past the stunning waters of the Llyn Brenig reservoir, and bottomed out by a fast run along a short stretch of the A5, the A543 is the starting straight of a rapid jaunt through stunning scenery on roads that it seems even the Welsh have forgotten exist. I take the early-morning opportunity to grab some relaxing time in the Rolls-Royce Dawn. Granted, the name takes some getting used to, but the car certainly doesn’t. It’s utterly glorious, even if it’s got an interior like an RAC van turned inside out. This is CarDealerMag.co.uk | 51
the drop-top version of the Ghost and it’s got all the refinery you’d expect from a house-priced automobile. On tight roads such as these, strewn with farming detritus and moist from morning dew, the pace is understandably sedate, positively regal even. Driving the Dawn is an event, full of pomp and ceremony, a moment stolen in time not to go unsavoured, and even here, with an audience consisting of a handful of sheep, I’m going to enjoy every minute of it. While the others spruce up the cars for the cameras, I take an already dirty Ford Focus RS for a proper drive. It’s a car I’ve long said was an RTOTY crown contender, ever since I tried it for the first time at Rockingham earlier this year – and now is its chance to prove me right. Thankfully, it doesn’t fail to live up to my expectations. Once past the awkward driving position, and as comfortable as I can get, I settle in for a rapid run across the moors. The 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine is an absolute stormer, and with that sticky four-wheel drive and super-sensitive steering, we’re soon tuned in to a pace that a hot hatch really shouldn’t be mastering. The RS makes you feel utterly alive, satisfied that for that moment, that window of your life in this world, you’re making every breath count. Parked back up, tick-ticking away as its engine cools in the damp Welsh air, it’s quite clear this thing is going to be hard to beat, especially when you factor in its relative bargain-basement price tag. With the Focus-fuelled adrenaline high slowly working its way out of my system, I watch as our windswept snapper positions the collection for a cover shot. It’s not an easy task as a chilly blast is blowing car doors shut for us and attempting to rock him off his stepladder. Even from my position as one of his sandbags I can see it’s looking stunning; yes, this year’s collection might be 50 shades of grey, but on this gravel backdrop the mostly mono machines can’t fail to look anything but dramatic.
DAY TWO Day two and those rain clouds that skipped above us yesterday have sunk deeper, falling to the floor and coating the moors in a thick fog that clings to our clothes and beads on freshly polished paintwork. We press on regardless. There are pictures to be shot, film to be captured and, most importantly, more cars to be driven. I’m working my way methodically through the pack, in no particular order, so grab the keys to the F-Pace. Ever since its announcement I’ve been intrigued by the Jaguar. It’s a brave step away from what the manufacturer 52 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
knows and loves, and I respect that. It’s good to see traditional car firms trying something new, charting new waters and conquering them. It may seem here that the Jaguar is a little out of place – to be pitched against supercars and hot hatches is hardly fair. However, RTOTY has, and always will be, a test of the greatest new car launches of the year, regardless of price or class – and there’s little doubt the Jaguar is one of those great launches. Inside, the F-Pace is clearly from the Coventry stable. There are F-Type cues all over the interior and on the road it’s definitely on the right side of sporty. But where it really wins is in the design stakes. It’s so unmistakable on the road, so imposing, so good-looking, that it’s going to be impossible for it not to win buyers over in their droves. From the sublime to the ridiculous as I grab the chance to take BMW’s M2 for a blast through the mist for my first real rush of blood to the head of the day. The German all-black is cast from the perfect M mould: muscly haunches, subtle
spoiler and gaping front splitter, all coupled with a monstrous engine – it’s a well-proven recipe for success. On these roads it’s an atomic weapon, destroying straights in seconds. It’s got that wonderful elasticity to its controls that all BMWs seem to have, delightful steering and a feel to its handling that few cars can match. As it pierces its way through the gloom, along the tree-lined roads that circumnavigate the waters of Llyn Brenig, its rasp echoes through the trees while inside the outside melts into a blur of green and brown as tunnel vision focuses on the next set of corners. Make no mistake, this M2 is one of the greats, but here it’s up against an almighty challenge. One of its most bitter rivals is the car I end the day with. Eventually the mist turns thick and stodgy, visibility is reduced to a mere few metres down the road, and we decide to can the shoot early. We’re here to capture great cars on great roads – but it helps if you can see them both. For the ride home I grab the Mercedes C63S
‘The RS makes you feel utterly alive, satisfied that for that moment, That window of your life in this world, you’re making every breath count.’
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keys – it’s the closest thing to a German derby here and only right I drive them back to back. OK, so the 4.0-litre bi-turbo charged 503bhp monster might be more of a rival to the M4 than the little brother we have here, but that doesn’t mean that no one’s comparing them. That speaks volumes about the M2’s prowess, but that’s not to say the C63S can’t hold its own. What’s soon clear is that the Mercedes is monstrously fast. Officially, 60mph is dispatched in just 3.9 seconds; on these greasy roads I’ll take their word for it. It grunts, growls and slithers its way back to base as I concentrate on not putting it backwards into the scenery. As nice as the Welsh valleys are, even they would probably object to having a C63S rudely inserted into them. The journey back may be a slippery one, but it’s clear to see there’s goodness lurking beneath the surface – even if it means a bullfight to get the best of it. Over plates of pub chips and vacuum-packed mixed grills, we pile our phones in the middle of the table, ignore the outside world, and start fighting our corners. Of our testers, there are clearly some who have decided already and come out Brexit-style fighting for their winner. I’m still undecided. I’ve thought I’ve had a winner several times, then I try another offering and the slate gets wiped clean all over again.
DAY THREE Woken by glimpses of sunshine searching their way through big-sky clouds, I decide over a greasyegg breakfast that it’s time to try a car I’ve been delaying getting behind the wheel of. You see, Audi and I have form. I had a firstgeneration R8 – a V8 with manual box – and utterly adored it. It pained me to see that engine go, it pains me to know that there’s no longer a manual option – and I can’t help thinking those new looks aren’t quite as dainty or as artful as the original. But preconceptions put aside, I climb in with a fresh canvas for this V10 to paint its picture on. After just a few miles I’m sold. This is good; so very, very good. We left Denbigh in convoy, but that didn’t last long. I’m now in a world of my own, out front and in a groove. As the moors roll out, I’m in familiar territory and able to explore the uppermost reaches of that V10’s fabulous rev range. I hate to admit it but I’m sold on the DSG gearbox, rarely using the paddles to force it to swap cogs. Manual supercars may be going the way of the dinosaur, but when automatic gearboxes are this good it’s hardly a surprise. Changes are rapid and punchy. The steering might not be as communicative as the McLaren’s 54 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
‘We left Denbigh in convoy, but that didn’t last long. I’m now in a world of my own, out front and in a groove.’ or as full of feel as the BMW, but it’s well weighted and precise. On the bumpy A-road that bisects the patchwork fields of countryside we’re occupying, the four-wheel drive serves up platefuls of grip, biting into the asphalt and spitting you out of turns. I’m soon in a trance of corner-to-corner concentration that’s hard to break – and before I know it I’ve disappeared far into the distance past our prearranged meeting point. I skulk back and park up to knowing nods from those who’ve already had the pleasure. Before I can get moaned at for failing to make the rendezvous, I get tossed the keys to the Golf and disappear again. The GTI Clubsport 40 is an anniversary celebration version of the hot hatch we all know and love, with the wick turned up to 286bhp. Its more focused sibling, the Clubsport S, recently set the front-wheel-drive lap record at the Nurburgring, and here on the Welsh version of the Green Hell, the 40 feels no less rapid. Ok, so it’s no Focus RS – that car’s superior four-wheel drive and beefier horsepower see to that – but it’s no less of a hoot to drive. I hop and skip over the crests that run around the back of our rudimentary test course and smirk at the noise those raspy exhausts make every time I plant the throttle. It might look the most ordinary of the cars we’ve assembled here, but that doesn’t make it any less special. We dine on yet another lunch of slightly shaken Morrisons sandwiches and battered pork
pies, while our snapper catches the last few shots. I throw the food down my neck fast and find the keys to the last car on my list – the Porsche 718 Boxster S. By this point I’ve heard many good things about the Porsche. At least two of my colleagues are waxing lyrical about its virtues, but they’re both Porsche diehards so I take what they say with a pinch of salt and settle in for a solo blast around the triangle. One thing’s for sure, that four-cylinder soundtrack certainly takes some getting used to. It’s different – not in a bad way, just different – and if you’re not expecting it, will take you by surprise. On the road, though, it’s still very much a Boxster. Lithe and lively, the 345bhp engine punches well above its weight – so much so that it often feels like it overwhelms its brakes. That said, the Boxster’s combination of accessible performance and new 718 looks will certainly make it a hard-to-beat contender here. I spend the last day jumping in and out of everything, grabbing every last conceivable second with the cars to help me make up my mind. By the end of it, I’m stumped – I can’t pick a winner, and I’m not alone. As we do every year, we’ll let maths make the decision for us. Each car will be marked in nine key categories by each of the testers, their scores added up and a winner crowned. But that’s for later. Right now, we’ve still got petrol in the tanks and Britain’s greatest roads to play with – and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
Our team of testers, from the left, Andrew, James, Jon, Becca, Darren, Jack and Andy CarDealerMag.co.uk | 55
‘I spend the last day jumping in and out of everything, grabbing every last conceivable second with the cars to help me make up my mind.’
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lipping down a B-road makes you realise a couple of things about the VW Golf GTI Clubsport. Despite still being a front-wheel drive hot hatch in a world where four-wheel drive is becoming the norm, it’s an effortless hack. The suspension set-up is specific to the 261bhp Clubsport and it generates a pleasing result, as the limited-edition Golf shows no hint of washing out of corners even with a fine film of mist slithering across the road. It’s no balancing act of forces either – with the steering reassuringly weighted, it never feels as though you’re on a knife-edge. It’s enough to produce plenty of pace on a great driving road and it doesn’t need a huge amount of commitment to keep it there either. The satisfaction of the drive is quickly dogged by a follow-up question. Is the Clubsport perhaps a little bit boring? You certainly shouldn’t expect any fireworks from the engine. This is the same EA888 unit you’ll find up and down the various brands in the VW Group – a 2.0-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder petrol – and it is a
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fairly muted option. Even when pushing on, it’s not the most vocal of units, and there’s one of those awful synthetic sound synthesiser units piping fake noise into the cabin too. It’s very much a flexible power unit, though, and one that pulls you along firmly on request, rather than a barnstorming hand grenade of thrills. Most of the time it produces up to 261bhp, but an overboost function throws in 25 more horses for a few seconds if you’ve got the pedal mashed into the bulkhead in third gear or higher. It makes overtaking the truck that’s spoiling the fun a simple task and when you’re asking the maximum from the Clubsport, you’ll get a somewhat satisfying little bark from the exhaust as the DSG box shifts as a nod to excitement. The aesthetics of the thing are just as
undramatic. Ultimately, this is a Volkswagen Golf and while it bears the GTI badging, the famous red GTI pinstripe and some natty ‘Clubsport’ branded decals right down on the sills, it looks to most as if it’s just a white Volkswagen Golf. Ours was even the five-door model – practical but not exactly sporty. The exterior changes are extremely subtle for the most part – a deeper front bumper with a few more holes in it and a slightly elongated boot spoiler are just about all that will differentiate the Clubsport from any other GTI. Whether this is good or bad rather depends on whether you like your hot hatch to shout about the fact it’s a hot hatch, or let the performance do the talking. It’s a similar tale when you get inside, but in here it’s definitely no bad thing. It’s a high-quality environment, with plenty of Alcantara, terrific seats and the usual Golf toys, bells and whistles. It has an infotainment system that’s intuitive, sensible and usable with the only suggestion of something different from the usual Volkswagen Group fare being a G-meter buried in one of the vehicle menus.
‘you’ll get a somewhat satisfying little bark from the exhaust as the DSG box shifts as a nod to excitement.’ The knowledge:
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 40 Price (as tested): £33,010 Engine: 2.0-litre 4 cylinder turbocharged petrol Power: 261bhp (286bhp on overboost), 350Nm Top Speed: 155mph 0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds Fuel economy: 40.4mpg combined Emissions: 158g/km But still, the Golf GTI is credited with kickstarting the ‘hot hatch’ craze for manufacturers putting oodles of power into everyday family cars. It practically created its own sector and these days it’s tricky to find a manufacturer that makes a ‘C-segment’ vehicle like the Golf and doesn’t force-feed it with far too much power. The key to the Clubsport is that around town it’s just a Golf – a practical, five seat hatchback with a 380-litre boot – but out here in darkest Wales, it’s as quick as just about anything else. Wherever and however you want to drive it, the Clubsport has no fuss or drama. There’s no fighting it, there’s no gaudiness, there’s no need for weighty technology to rein its potential in and there’s no compromising its family hatch credentials in the pursuit of pure pace. When it comes to celebrating the GTI name and the entire hot hatch concept, Volkswagen has pretty much aced it.
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or purists, the fact Jaguar dared to dabble in SUVs was always going to be a step too far. The British firm’s DNA in the fields of performance and racing combine with the compromised handling and practicalities of a 4x4 like oil and water, they say. But while those purists will probably never get over the fact Jaguar has muddied the waters of its brand with a machine like the F-Pace, the accountants at parent firm Tata will be turning a blind eye. You see, this is the car Jaguar needs right now: it’s a new lease of life for a firm that’s faltered and it’s a path to a whole new customer base for a brand that desperately needs it. First things first. No-one could deny that Ian Callum’s design has pulled off the distinctive Jaguar looks that the F-Type so wonderfully showcased. The familiar grille works perfectly on the SUV and there’s a definite hint of rage from behind those still, yet angled, lights and prominent jawline. This is an SUV designed to attract buyers away from the Porsche Macan and the best-selling Audi Q5 and we’d argue it’s done enough in the looks department to distinguish itself from that ever-growing car parc of interchangeable design. The fact Jaguar’s order books are full to the brim with F-Pace buyers speaks volumes in a segment dominated by form over function. Looks-wise, it might be ticking the right boxes then, but what’s it like on the road? Well, in short, it’s a bit hit and miss. Our test drive begins with a 250-mile journey to North Wales, a task that in many cars would be a chore. This is the R-Sport model, complete with 178bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engine – and to be honest, it’s not always up to the job. On the motorway it’s comfortable enough and cruises perfectly well, but in and around town it gets frustratingly sluggish. There’s a lack of response to the engine and drivetrain that makes it irritating in stop-start traffic. That’s long forgotten, though, when you get to the twisty stuff. One of our favourite test roads snakes out of Denbigh into the moors. It’s scattered with blind crests and tight, hedge-lined twists and turns and it’s here where the F-Pace sheds its bulk and that Jaguar DNA bubbles to the surface. Switch it into its sportier ‘race’ mode and the dash changes red, it noticeably tightens up, hunkers down and gets on with the job of tackling the terrain. One can’t help but think a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 from the F-Type would make this a whole different machine altogether. We’re not going to sell that race mode as magic – there’s still a whole lot of skill from the driver required – but it certainly proves Jaguar has
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‘One can’t help but think a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 from the F-Type would make this a whole different machine altogether.’ managed to inject some of its sports car blood into its first SUV and we’re very thankful it has. Inside, the F-Pace feels far more snug than its exterior dimensions suggest. Jaguar will describe it as sporty, but we’d say it feels cosy at best, cramped at worst. The driving position is cocooned by a large transmission tunnel and there’s little space for your legs if you’re tall. The switchgear feels very familiar too – it’s much the same as the firm’s F-Type and that’s no bad thing. Dials look good and the buttons and toggles feel decent quality. In fact, it’s a rather pleasant place to spend time, albeit a little on the small side. There’s little doubt the F-Pace is a car Jaguar desperately needed to build. SUVs are a carbuying staple these days; they’re the heartland of the industry and one which manufacturers ignore at their peril. In fact, if ever proof of that were needed, the F-Pace is it. SUVs are incredibly important to Jaguar’s sister firm, Land Rover, yet still its parent company decided to press ahead with this rival. We don’t doubt this will be a turning point for the brand either. Much like how Porsche has become an SUV firm that happens to build
sports cars these days, we can see Jaguar’s future heading in the same direction. Is that a bad thing? Not if it frees up some R&D cash to continue building cars as breathtaking as its sister sports car models it isn’t. Think of the F-Pace as a very good savings account for the firm – it might not be for everyone, but the returns it will generate will live on for generations to come.
Rebecca Chaplin @BelieveBecca
JAGUAR F-PACE r sport Price: Â£44,770 Engine: 2.0-litre, turbo diesel Power: 178bhp, 430Nm 0-60mph: 8.2 seconds Top speed: 129mph Economy: 53.3mpg combined Emissions: 139g/km
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ear that? Almost total silence. I’m in the outside lane of the M4, in a 563bhp car with a roof made from fabric, and all that my ears can pick up is the sound of my own breathing. Have my nostrils always been this loud? Surely not – I’d have noticed. Or maybe I wouldn’t have. Maybe this is what sheer silence is actually supposed to sound like. The reason I’m experiencing total and utter absence of noise is twofold. Firstly, I’ve picked up a Rolls-Royce Dawn from the brand’s freshly opened dealer in Bristol, and secondly, the stereo is broken. Temporarily, I should add – my iPhone’s dodgy lightning connector had sent it into a momentary spasm – but I suppose if there’s a car in which (to quote Depeche Mode) you want to enjoy the silence, it’s probably this one.
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That travelling in a Rolls is a serene experience shouldn’t come as a great surprise, of course, but one that’s been given the tin-opener treatment? Incredibly, Rolls-Royce appears to have pulled it off. Keep the roof up and the Dawn is as refined as any other of its siblings, and even with the soft top folded away, things such as road and traffic noise seem quieter than they should be. It’s not just the peace and quiet that takes you aback, either. The Dawn might only be one of the baby Rollers but the attention to detail inside is staggering. Nowadays, it’s easy to become blasé about how car interiors are designed and
put together, so appreciating just what’s in front of you in the Dawn requires a bit of mental recalibration. Everything – and I mean everything – in your eyeline has been hemmed or carved from beautifully selected materials, be they wood or leather or polished metal, and it feels as though only the very best material available was allowed to be used regardless of cost. Despite all the old-school craftsmanship that’s gone into it, though, the Dawn manages to escape feeling stuffy or old-fashioned in the way that wood-clad car interiors used to – Rolls-Royce now has to cater for the Instagram generation, after all. The orange leather of our car no doubt helped, but the cabin design is unmistakeably modern, albeit with little design flourishes and features that nod back to Rolls-Royce’s past. There are some touches that give away some details about Rolls’s present, too. The infotainment and navigation system is yanked
‘The Dawn might only be one of the baby Rollers but the attention to detail inside is staggering.’
ROLLS-ROYCE DAWN Price: £264,000 Engine: 6.6-litre petrol V12 Power: 563bhp 780Nm 0-60mph: 4.7 seconds Top speed: 155mph (limited) Economy: 19.9mpg combined Emissions: 330g/km straight from parent company BMW, for example – albeit with a more subtly designed interface than iDrive – while strictly speaking the car’s platform and engine block are borrowed from the Germans, too. To say the Dawn is merely like a convertible 7 Series would be way off the mark, though – a few shared components or not, Rolls-Royce has instilled a totally different feel altogether. To drive – as with other models in the range – it feels completely unlike anything else on sale today. It’s a hard thing to put your finger on but the Dawn confidently wafts along in a way that no other luxury car – let alone any convertibles – seems to be able to match. The ride is impossibly smooth, and the Dawn’s steering is finger-light yet impressively precise. Powered by a 6.6-litre V12, it goes impressively too, and mostly without so much as a peep from under the bonnet. It even changes direction
relatively keenly for a car that weighs some 200kg more than a long-wheelbase Range Rover, although asking it to hold its own on some Welsh B-roads is stretching the Dawn’s CV a little too far. That’s completely beside the point, though: the Dawn isn’t a car you buy because it out-handles its rivals, it’s a car you buy because – frankly – you want a Rolls-Royce and nothing else will do. Did I end up wanting one? If I’m honest, no – I’m too much of a shrinking violet. Top down in the sun, with music (eventually) serenading me from the impeccably designed speaker system, though, I did fall a bit in love with it. And that’s the problem with the best: once you’ve tasted it, nothing else is good enough.
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hen people first read that Mercedes-AMG would be ditching the fire-breathing 6.2-litre V8 used in the original C63 for a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged one, there was outcry. That naturally-aspirated unit was full of character – not to mention horsepower – and gave the first-generation car a huge amount of charisma. Downsizing, people thought, would take away some of the thuggish charm that came with the first C63. Were those people right? Absolutely not. Although it’s lost a slight bit of vocal edge at the top end, this all-new engine is just as much of a riot as the original. With more of a Messerschmitt under your right foot than a motor, the new C63S has all the character you could want in a car.
How, I hear you ask, does this apply to sweeping Welsh country roads? Very nicely, I’d respond. In coupe form, the C63S feels surprisingly agile around tight bends, especially for what is essentially a muscle car. It’s a lively old fellow, however, and in the wet the 510 horses being sent to the rear wheels can make for a driving experience that sits on the scarier side of things. It’s manageable, but the C63S breaks traction so much that you’d think there were space-saver tyres fitted to the back. However, when it’s dry and you point the
mercedes-AMG c63s Price: £68,070 Engine: 4.0-litre bi turbo V8 Power: 510bhp, 700Nm Top speed: 155mph 0-60: 3.9 seconds Fuel economy: 32.8mpg (comb’d) Emissions: 200g/km 64 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
Mercedes bonnet bulge in the direction of some corners, it really does come into its own. Although fitted with paddles, sometimes the car is best left in automatic mode, leaving that V8’s incredible torque – all 700Nm of it – to do the work. There’s a real energy that comes with the C63S, especially when negotiating switchback corners in it. If you’re gradual with the controls, then it’s a car that will devour a country road rather easily. On the striking asphalt of north Wales, the C63S feels very much at home. Some may argue that it’s a little too heavy to make the most of the tight ribbons of blacktop that litter the area, but I disagree. The car’s steering is precise, despite not giving a huge amount of feedback. That means it’s not tricky to place the car on the road. In dry conditions, you can drive in neatly and quickly – it doesn’t have to be a smoking, snarling hooligan all of the time.
‘In coupe form, the C63S feels surprisingly agile around tight bends, especially for what is essentially a muscle car.’ At lower speeds, you certainly notice the firm ride, though. We can’t vouch for Snowdonia’s road quality – in some places it resembles the site of the Moon landings – but through potholes the C63S really does crash, though this most likely comes from a combination of suspension, and tyres that appear to be painted on. Those tyres are part of the C63’s brilliant aesthetic though, sitting under hugely flared wheel arches and a body style that looks as if it wants to pick a fight with any car it comes into contact with. Think one of the Kray brothers wearing a three-pronged knuckle-duster. There are some elements of the Mercedes that don’t quite work, though. The interior, for instance, doesn’t have quite the fit and finish that you’d expect for a close-to-£70,000 car. The infotainment system isn’t the best, either. But these are extremely tiny flies in what is a large amount of ointment. For the most part, the
C63S is an exhilarating and addictive car to drive, even if it occasionally rattles inside. For the vast majority of the time, it’s all the car you could want. It’s fast, exciting to both sit in and look at, as well as extremely capable. Sure, it’s thirsty and lacks the sharpness or poise offered by some rivals, but when you hit that large silver
starter button, all of these issues quickly fade away. In short, driving this car is an experience that’s hard to knock.
Jack Evans @jackrober
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unching my foot to the floor to get away from the gravel car park, the 718 Boxster S surges from the rear and lands on the tarmac rather more quickly than I’d expected it to. With my stomach now in my mouth and my eyes wide open, it’s fair to say the 718’s subtle looks had lulled me into a false sense of security. In the fresh chill of the Welsh morning air, a jaunt across the moors in a sporty convertible is just what the doctor ordered to blow away any proverbial cobwebs. A flick of the switch above my head and the roof is down, hit the heater button until a small fire is blazing from the vents, hands on the wheel and we’re ready to go. The Boxster’s got an old-school feel with a blood-red leather interior, metal dials and chunky switches. Everything is simple, well placed, methodical – and this Porsche is prepared to deceive me. Strip the freshly named 718 Boxster to its bare bones and the biggest talking point is that new engine. Behind my head is a 2.5-litre, 345bhp four-cylinder boxer engine that wants to be heard. Whether that’s a good thing or not is down to your personal preference on noise – because gone are the six cylinders of old and in their place is a lumpy, bumpy, four-pot hum. The power available is stunning, though, and feels perfectly adequate for a spine-tingling rush across the countryside. That engine’s got a turbo, too – which is something else that’s got the purists riled up. They needn’t have got their knickers in a twist, though – we can happily report the 718 Boxster is just as exciting as it ever has been and you’ll hardly notice the forced induction assistance. On roads such as these, it grips like brilliant entry-level Porsches always have done, and on a lap of the Welsh moors it’s intoxicating. Yes, that noise does take some getting used to, but once you’ve tuned into its groove, got the measure of its weighty yet precise steering and the feel of its rear-wheel-drive biased grip, it’s a delight. On winding bends it’s as if it’s making a concerted effort to will you on, goad you into pushing harder, to enjoy yourself that little bit more. The 718 Boxster is a driver’s car, pure and simple. It feels rigid, strong and delightfully well finished – there’s no doubt that this was engineered anywhere other than in Germany – but there’s also a lightness to the controls and a deftness to its ability in the bends. Maybe that’s why Porsche has kept the feel of this car so traditional and simple. The manufacturer hasn’t packed it with technology or over-complicated readings on the dash. There’s no need for any impressive graphics either when you can drive it like this, far more focused on the road ahead than on meaningless figures.
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It’s a shame that human ability slows you down in this case, thanks to the complexity of changing gear manually. Drivers traditionally love a manual gearbox, but Porsche has spoilt us with its brilliant PDK paddles – and we can’t help but long for that set-up in this. Manuals have their place, but when automatic cog-swapping is done so well – and in most cases better than any human ever could – who are we to argue with progress? If you’re ordering your 718, we’d strongly recommend shelling out for the PDK. After many miles on all types of roads, the 718 Boxster truly gets under your skin. Yes, it may be different to those that have gone before it, but this is a new dawn – there’s a new name, new look and new fun to be had. Driving one won’t leave you wanting more, it won’t make you feel like a racing driver, but it sure will guarantee you an experience that you’ll never forget.
Rebecca Chaplin @BelieveBecca
Porsche 718 Boxster S Price: £61,466 Engine: 2.5-litre turbocharged Power: 345bhp, 420Nm 0-60mph: 4.4 seconds Top speed: 177mph (limited) Economy: 34.9mpg combined Emissions: 184g/km
‘On roads SUCH AS these, it grips like the brilliant entry-level Porsches always have done, and on a lap of the Welsh moors it’s intoxicating.’
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hat McLaren has achieved with its road car programme in five short years is nothing short of remarkable. Since the birth of McLaren Automobiles, the British supercar maker has rapidly become a force to be reckoned with, taking on the very best from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche – and in many cases winning. This year the firm introduced a new baby to its range. Designed to take on the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 Turbo, the 570S sits at the bottom of the maker’s line-up – but don’t be fooled into thinking this is any less of a McLaren than its siblings. It’s hard not to be confused by McLaren’s model structure, so let us explain. At the bottom is this, the 570S, which sits in its Sports Series, along with the 570GT. Above them, in the Super Series, is the 650S (previously the MP4 12C) and the 675LT. And at the top of the tree is the Ultimate
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Series, occupied by the P1. Got it? Good. It’s easy to forget the 570S’s position at the bottom of the McLaren price list, though, as soon as you hit the road. This feels like no entry-level model you’ve ever tried before. We’re testing the £143,250 machine on some of the greatest British roads you’ll find. A slither of asphalt that snakes its way through north Welsh moors, dry-stone-walled farmyards and evergreen-tree-lined straights. The roads are empty, Wales is at work, and so too are the McLaren and I. It’s the perfect setting to stretch the baby Mac’s twin turbo-charged 3.8-litre V8 engine – the very same unit found in all of its bigger brothers – but
here, relatively less stressed and slightly detuned. Producing 562bhp, it’s some 50bhp down on the 650S. However, it’s still good for cracking the dash to 60mph in a breathtaking 3.1 seconds and will top out at 204mph. Yes, baby of the range it may be, but this 570S is still supercar-fast. On the road it rifles through its twin-clutch automatic gearbox, swapping cogs in milliseconds and relentlessly charging towards the horizon. The driving position is as close to perfection as you can get. The steering wheel can be pulled close to your chest, while you sit low-slung in the seat. It feels like a racing position and makes fastpaced driving wonderfully involving. The 570S is designed to be more of a daily driver and not to be tucked away for high days and holidays – think Porsche 911 levels of usability. It helps that it’s pretty practical. There’s space behind the rear seats for small items of luggage and enough boot space up front for two for a weekend away. Where the McLaren does let itself down,
‘don’t be fooled into thinking this is any less of a mclaren than its siblings.’
Price: £143,250 Engine: 3.8-litre, twin turbo Power: 562bhp, 600NM Top speed: 204mph 0-60mph: 3.1 seconds MPG: 26.6mpg Emissions: 249g/km
though, is with its infotainment system. It’s clunky, slow and buggy. Our test car thought it was 1970, often refused to start the radio and was painfully slow to switch between functions. It’s here where you realise that a five-year-old car company still has a few things to learn… What it lacks in electronic refinery, though, it more than makes up for on the road. It’s thrilling to drive and, on these Welsh roads, intoxicatingly addictive. It piles on speed with unbelievable pace while there’s no real drama to the soundtrack, just whooshes and sucking as it gulps down air, flinging you headfirst onwards. It’s wonderfully composed – the chassis communicative, the steering incredibly direct and dainty. There’s little doubt this is one of the most accomplished McLarens the firm has produced to date. Not only is it utterly stunning to look at – not classically beautiful, but visually arresting enough to have passers-by stopping in their tracks – it’s exciting enough from behind the wheel to
make you forget it’s the cheapest in the range, too. In fact, look at it a different way and you could argue this is a relative bargain. It’s around £100 more expensive than a 911 Turbo but comes with far more kerb appeal and arguably just as much excitement, if not more. Not bad for a car company that’s just out of playschool.
James Baggott @CarDealerEd CarDealerMag.co.uk | 69
ales’ unpredictable weather is playing nasty as the light morning mist gives way to rolling fog. With visibility reduced, confidence in your car is key, and thankfully that’s the M2’s trump card. Where its bigger brother, the M3, can feel a bit big and unwieldy, the M2 feels much better suited to real-world driving. Its dimensions mean that you can place it between the white lines at speed without ever worrying about getting things wrong – and on a day like today that’s exactly what I need. That doesn’t mean I’m taking things easy. Far from it. Despite the conditions, the M2 is still weapons-grade good. In Sport, and the needlessly over-responsive Sport+ modes, the rear wheels squirm and chirrup under acceleration or during full-bore upshifts, yet it’s still intuitively manageable. To help keep the body in check, the suspension is firm. Not too firm for British roads like those
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we’re tackling here in Wales, but tough enough to remind you the road surface is far from pooltable smooth. It’s a sublime car and one with confidence-inspiring handling. The BMW M2 is based on the 2-Series – the coupe version of the 1 Series – and it gets a 3.0-litre turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine that makes 365bhp. There’s the choice of a six-speed manual or the seven-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission found in our test car – a welcome option in an automotive world that’s seemingly phasing out manuals. It’s the same engine used in the M235i, but with a few choice upgrades to move the game on. The M2 gets a larger intercooler and the M3’s pistons and forged crankshaft, as well
as a modified sump. It takes just 4.1 seconds to complete the 60mph dash, but that sort of performance figure isn’t what this car’s all about. The M2 is all about handling, making it the perfect companion here in Wales, home to some of the best B-roads in the world. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, though. We’d hoped the automatic would woo us with its quick, smooth shifts, but it’s frustrating. Gear changes in sportier modes are too aggressive, causing the car to become unbalanced, and it’s a bit too slow to respond if you leave it in full auto. We’d recommend the manual on the basis that it improves driver involvement, but neither are particularly memorable. Looks-wise, BMW has implemented the usual M Division recipe. The 2-Series is already a pretty car, but the M2 mimics the flared body ethos of the old E30 M3. There are subtle bulges everywhere, most noticeably above the wheel arches, but they’re less obvious in our Black Sapphire car. Those bulges aren’t purely cosmetic. The M2’s
‘Enthusiasts are calling the M2 the return of the true M3, and they’re almost right to do so.’
Price: £46,580 Engine: 3.0-litre, turbo petrol Power: 365bhp 0-60mph: 4.1 seconds Top speed: 155mph Economy: 35.8mpg combined Emissions: 185g/km
track is 58mm wider at the front and 45mm wider at the rear compared to a standard 2-Series. It’s also 8mm lower and the wheelbase is 3mm longer. Out in deepest, darkest Wales where every road feels like it could host a World Rally Championship stage, those numbers add up to a lot. The steering is silky smooth and gives you the confidence to really lean on the tyres. Enthusiasts are calling the M2 the return of the true M3, and they’re almost right to do so. The entry-level M car is a brilliantly capable coupe, but it’s just not particularly exciting. It’s incredibly accessible and easy to drive fast, but sadly it doesn’t leave you itching to get back behind the wheel. And in a car with an M badge that’s very worrying indeed.
Darren Cassey @DCassey CarDealerMag.co.uk | 71
he setting sun is casting a beautiful golden glow across the Brecon Beacons as a light mist hovers in the air. I imagine this epic scene would make ramblers go weak at the knees, if it wasn’t for the fact I’m shattering the peace with a highly-strung four-pot and a ludicrously over-engineered family hatchback. The roads atop the moors dip and dive across the kind of terrain that would make an Ordnance Survey map look like a plate of spaghetti. There are sweeping, well-sighted curves and tight switchbacks in equal measure, and this Ford Focus RS is in its element. The light was already beginning to fade when I set off on an epic journey from the southern tip of Wales to Denbigh in the north. Approximately 180 miles with not so much as a dual carriageway to catch my breath. I’m not complaining, though. This thirdgeneration Focus RS might not be quite as bewinged as its predecessors, but it’s still a proper rally car wannabe. The 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine makes 345bhp and one hell of a racket as gunshots ring from the exhaust on upshifts. The Focus RS has traditionally used front-wheel drive, with some technical wizardry employed to try – and mostly fail – to tame unwanted torque steer under acceleration. But the new version gets the all-wheel drive system Fast Ford fans have been crying out for. It’s a mighty clever thing, too. With a rearbiased torque delivery in Sport mode, the Focus handles like a ludicrously grippy rear-wheel-drive car when you’re pushing its limits. With the low sun casting long shadows across the road and my only companions up here an endless supply of suicidal sheep, I decide to swallow a brave pill and see if I can discover where those limits lie. I quickly discover they’re well beyond what I could ever find on the road. Simply chuck the RS into a corner to shift the weight to the outer rear wheel, then plant your foot on the throttle and let the all-wheel drive system make you look like a hero. Then giggle incessantly before doing it all over again at the next bend. The slightly heavy steering at low speeds suddenly makes sense once you start channelling your inner hooligan. The days of communicative steering are unfortunately behind us, but you still get a sense of how much grip the front end has. I hadn’t really gelled with the RS until now. You sit too high, the interior feels cheap and the Sync infotainment system is a lesson in bad design. Ignore the fact that the ride is so harsh that even in Normal mode you’ll need your chiropractor on speed dial, and you quickly forget
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ford focus rs Price: £31,250 Engine: 2.3-litre, turbo petrol Power: 345bhp, 470Nm 0-60mph: 4.5 seconds Top speed: 165mph Economy: 36.7mpg combined Emissions: 175g/km
it’s not your everyday, common-or-garden Focus. Leaving the moorlands in my rear-view mirror, I find myself on a mountain pass seemingly miles from civilisation. Out here, with empty roads and full beams straining to illuminate the horizon, the Focus RS is an absolute blast. I can see why some won’t like it. The fact that at anything below 100 per cent effort it can feel ordinary can be a turn-off, but when you start to reach the upper reaches of its performance, it’s just mind-blowing. And with prices starting at just £31,250, is there a better performance car for the money? Answers on a postcard please.
Darren Cassey @DCassey
‘The slightly heavy steering at low speeds suddenly makes sense once you start channelling your inner hooligan.’
CarDealerMag.co.uk | 73
‘This Audi is good, very good indeed. In fact we’d go as far AS SAYING it’s one of the greats.’
e’re hard on the fast pedal and accelerating towards a horizon peppered by autumnal fields of gold and disgruntled sheep. Behind me, a V10 is singing at the very upper echelons of its rev range, howling a scream that’s reverberating off the scenery – and I’m smiling a smile that only a supercar with an engine as special as this can induce. If ever there was a vehicle defined by its powerplant, the R8 is it. Right from the moment it barks into life behind you, to the minute it settles down to a potent, visceral idle, you know this V10 is something special. This is the difficult second series for the R8. The first – Audi’s landmark supercar foray – was an almighty success. This is the follow-up, and a tough one at that. The first had V8 and V10 engine options. The former, when mated to an
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evocative open-gate manual gear box, was pure and perfect, the larger V10, a lump stolen from Lamborghini, always felt a little over the top. But now that V8 is gone – so too is the manual option – replaced instead by a V10 and this, the V10 Plus. We can’t help but mourn the loss of the click-clicking of the wonderfully mechanical open-gate gearbox, but thankfully DSG paddlepushing cog-swapping is just as exciting. It crashes through changes in milliseconds, acceleration a constant, never interrupted by a misjudged clutch-up of a ham-fisted human. On roads like these, this Audi gets under your skin. Three tankfuls of superunleaded later and
we’re positively hooked – that 601bhp unit, the hallmark of the V10 Plus, feels every bit as quick as its 3.2 second to 60mph time suggests. And although we won’t test it, good for its 205mph top speed. It’s a blessing that Audi hasn’t messed too much with the original R8’s winning formula. The looks have been sharpened – there’s a new nose and headlights; more slices and angles in the body. But it’s still unmistakeably an R8, just tweaked for the now. Inside, the improvements are far more apparent. The switchgear is smarter and the digital dash a revelation. The dials behind the steering wheel are all on a wide, clear screen which can be manipulated every which way you please. From telephone details to car information, to adjusting the size of the speedo to fit into a full-width sat-nav display, it’s by far and away the biggest improvement Audi has made in years. There are no supercar compromises to be made
audi r8 v10 plus Price (as tested): £134,520 Engine: 5.2-litre V10 petrol Power: 601hp, 560Nm Top speed: 205mph 0-60 mph: 3.2 seconds Fuel economy: 23.0mpg combined Emissions: 287g/km here either. It’s comfortable over long distances with decent seats that are adjustable in all the right places, and that’s aided by a driving position that works just as well for cross Welsh moors jaunts to town centre shopping trips. In fact the latter point is very important. You see this is a supercar that needn’t be tucked away for weekend high jinks as it can very much be used every day. It never feels unwieldy in town, it’s no harder to park than a large saloon and there’s even a reasonably-sized boot under the bonnet. Ok, so it’s no SUV, but it will happily cope with a trip to a supermarket – if you can park it far enough away to save it from trolley scrapes that is. However, it’s on British B-roads and fast flowing A-roads where the R8 really comes alive. The beautifully-weighted steering may be a little devoid of feel at times, but it’s accurate and solid. The Quattro four-wheel-drive system is always planted and secure and sees the Audi corner in a
calm, assured way even at the quickest of speeds and on the bumpiest of roads. This really is a supercar for supercar beginners – there are no nasty surprises, no blink-andyou’re-in-a-hedge dramas – just pure, undiluted adrenaline-soaked drives. This Audi is good, very good indeed. In fact we’d go as far as saying it’s one of the greats. And when you compare its £134,000 price tag to Ferraris and McLarens costing tens of thousands of pounds more, but offering little or no more excitement, it could even be declared a bargain. Ok, that might be pushing things a bit too far, but for buyers who want all the fun of exotica, but none of the drama, there are no other cars to recommend above it.
James Baggott @CarDealerEd CarDealerMag.co.uk | 75
FEATURE. AND so to the verdicts. Beers sunk, plates of Italian food piled high and our mobile phones stacked in the middle of the restaurant table so there’s no distractions from the argument James that’s sure to follow. Baggott You see RTOTY rarely throws up one clear winner. So many great cars hit showrooms every year that there’s never really one that stands head and shoulders above the rest – especially when you bring maths into the equation. We like to do things properly. And that means voting, that means categories and it means leaving the results in the hands of a sum. A sum of all the parts of the table you see below – nine categories, 10 points to be had in each and a total of 540 available per car after our six testers have
cast their votes. And that’s handy, because this Italian meal is about to turn into a food fight if we let the debate go on any longer… Before I begin, let’s remember it’s not an easy job for these cars to get here in the first place. In fact, a slot at RTOTY is already a badge of honour. But one has to sit at the bottom of the table and this year that’s the VW Golf Clubsport. Alongside this company, the humble hatchback – even in this sportier guise – was always going to struggle. In the scoring, its performance – it was the lowest-powered here – and its run-
TO TA L
MO FO R
AL IC AC T
VA LU E
Ford Focus RS
G IN ST YL
TY LI BI RA DE
Audi R8 V10 Plus
And the winner is...
of-the-mill looks saw it lose the most points. Second from bottom, by just a point, is the Jaguar F-Pace. There’s no doubt it’s the car that Jaguar so desperately needed – and one that’s very well executed – it just lacks the thrills to excite. It top-scored in the practicality stakes though which makes a whole lot of sense when you consider its SUV credentials. The Rolls-Royce Dawn comes in seventh. It’s an utterly wonderful machine, smooth, refined like nothing else on the road and supremely comfortable. In fact it top-scored in this test in the latter. However, it’s hard to see past that whopping price tag. In sixth is the Mercedes C63S. It’s a raucous, tyre-shredding saloon that’s got the trousers to match the mouth, but more focused performance machines here saw it miss out. Performance machines like our fifth-placed
Porsche 718 Boxster S
Jaguar F-Pace R Sport
VW Golf GTI Clubsport 40
OUR Testers’ favouriteS WERE...
FORD FOCUS RS
PORSCHE 718 BOXSTER S
For me the Focus RS combines the perfect blend of excitement, looks and practicality at a price that fortunately won’t make you pass out.
Everyone enjoys a bit of madness and the M2 offers that in spades, but only when you want it. Add in the price, those good looks and the fact you could drive it every day, and it’s a no-brainer.
The 718 Boxster epitomises everything needed in a performance car. It’s fast, sharp and the right size for UK roads. A masterpiece from Stuttgart yet again.
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Porsche 718 Boxster. There are two testers on our team who declared it their winner – one describing it as a masterpiece. I’d argue the brakes let it down and it’s hard to love that all new four-pot thrum when you’ve got used to six glorious cylinders. In fourth, just two points from the podium and just three off second place, is the utterly mind-bending McLaren 570S. Baby of the range it may be, but it has simply staggering performance that warps space and shatters your perception of speed. It topped the scores in both the styling and handling categories and rightly so. In bronze position, though, is the BMW M2. Solid scores across the board from our testers, especially in the handling and fun segments, saw it climb to the top. There’s no doubt it’s a great BMW and with typical M car looks will be a brilliant seller. In second place, though, is a car of the moment
– the Ford Focus RS. I was convinced it would win – in fact it did when I crunched my own personal ratings. I loved the handling, the excitement and the astonishing performance from a bargain basement priced hot hatch. It’s a corker, this Focus, and it comes as no surprise there’s a healthy waiting list for them. But our winner for 2016 is the Audi R8. It was never going to be easy replacing what soon became an iconic car for the brand, but this second coming is easily as good as the first. Yes, we miss the V8 option, and yes, we miss the manual, but the stonking performance from this V10 Plus, the incredible sound and the ridiculously quick DSG gear shifts more than make up for the loss. Throw in some brilliant new technology, like the digital dashboard, and a drive that will make you smile from ear to ear every time, and we have our worthy winner. It was head and shoulders above the rest in the scoring and rightly claims the Road Test of the Year 2016 title. Bravo Audi, bravo. [CD]
‘It was never going to be easy replacing what soon became an iconic car for the brand, but this second coming is easily as good as the first.’
porsche 718 boxster S
Audi r8 v1o plus
FORD FOCUS RS
Downsized engine or not, there’s no faulting the way the Boxster handles. What’s more, it does it without breaking the bank – or your spine – in the process.
The R8 is a truly theatrical experience, right from the moment you fire up its orchestral V10. It’s a winner in any company and I adore it.
Nothing can match the Ford Focus RS for affordable performance. In the real world, even the R8 was left behind despite costing five times as much. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 77
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CarDealerMag.co.uk | 79
he annual Bangers4Ben charity extravaganza gets bigger and better every year, with more and more teams clamouring to sign up and destinations to rival the most luxurious of coach holidays… Unfortunately, when it comes to the cars chosen by those taking part from Car Dealer Magazine, the quality seems to be deteriorating. Sourcing one this year was left to Bangers veteran Jon Reay, who decided that a throwback to his teenage years was well overdue. Once the proud owner of a navy blue, 2004 Ford SportKa, he came to the conclusion that nothing else would do to take us to this year’s destination – Maranello in Italy – and back. And after some intense eBay sleuthing he found a near-identical model within our budget. Unfortunately, our floppy-haired friend may have let his heart rule his head, paying £700 for the 86,000-mile Ka, which he had decided was sound. If sound is code for ‘completely and utterly knackered’ then indeed it was. The brakes were non-existent, the drive belt slipped and the tyres were balder than Britney Spears in 2007….
Reay: OK, I’ll admit, I may not have been at my typical Mike Brewer best when it came to selecting this year’s car, but our Ka really wasn’t THAT bad. I had a choice of two for under £700 – a sound one 120 miles away or a rubbish one around the corner. Knowing that whichever I picked would be covered in ginger fur for the rest of its road-going life, I graciously spared the nicer one a life of eternal furriness and went for the local example instead. Aside from reliving my youth (can you justifiably say that at 25?), there were a few reasons I plumped for the dear old Ka. Firstly, I reckon it’s a bit of an underappreciated warm hatch; secondly, it’s cheap; and thirdly, it’s mechanically simple, with (in theory) not much to go wrong. Ahem. Laura: It only took a quick trip to Halfords to prove Reay wrong – a repair bill of almost double the car’s value was offered up by an apologetic mechanic. Alongside the obvious – black fluids all round and some prehistoric engine oil – there was excessive play on the offside front anti-roll bar, while the front brake hose on the same side had perished to the point of splitting. Embracing the true Bangers spirit, we settled on having the absolute minimum done to make the car roadworthy. A bill of £401.89 and a minor service later, our Ka made its way back to Car Dealer Towers, proudly wearing a new drive belt and two new tyres. 80 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
THE ITALIAN MOB
Laura Thomson and Jon Reay pair up for charity rally in a SportKa that’s just about roadworthy. What could possibly go wrong...?
Reay: Now all the boring bits were sorted, it was time to get on with the most important aspect of our banger: dressing it. Bossman Baggott – who insisted on approving our Bangers car attire – seemed to be happy with the plan of a SportKat, so I got down to business with his credit card before he could change his mind. Many, many days later, 10 metres of ‘luxury’ fur finally arrived at the office, and a mere two days before we were due to set off we were finally able to get to work. Progress was… slow. Despite recruiting an extra helper in the form of editorial keyboard warrior James Fossdyke – mostly to restrain Laura from yanking off the Ka’s boot spoiler when I wasn’t looking – it was 2am on Saturday, the first day of the event, before we’d even set off for our hotel in Dover. Bleary-eyed and still covered head to toe in Unibond and faux fur fluff, we finally stumbled
into the Premier Inn at 4am – much to the surprise of the night manager, whose late-night ironing session we’d rudely interrupted. Laura: Too exhausted to even question this bizarre behaviour (who irons at 4am?!) we checked into our room, and three hours later a pigeon and a goldfish emerged. Stumbling down the corridor, we bumped into Batman and Robin, and saw a number of other crazily dressed car dealers as we made our way to the Kat. Ears out and tail wagging, we set off. Dover’s port was in for a real treat. Awaiting us was a scene that could have come from a low-budget spoof comedy. A dinosaur roamed between three rows of eccentrically decorated bangers, while a nun chatted to a Minion alongside a police car. A noticeable absence came in the form of Car
‘A dinosaur roamed between three rows of eccentrically decorated bangers, while a nun chatted to a Minion alongside a police car.’
Something fishy’s going on... on, barked a stern-faced marshal, and none of the remaining bangers had room for a goldfish hitchhiker. Finally, the Batmobile swooped in and made its first rescue. Squeezing in the Mitsubishi FTO alongside Car Dealer Becca and Alexis Cassey of Prestige Diesels & Sports in Portsmouth, I planned revenge on my feathered ‘friend’…
Dealer Andy and co-driver Piers Montague, aka Scooby-Doo’s Velma and Daphne in their Mystery Machine. The 1998 Daihatsu Hijet was struggling to hit 60mph, and as a result the pair had found themselves way behind schedule. Only one banger down, the cars began to file
on to the ferry, and in an ill-judged joke – which he called a ‘genuine mistake’ – Pigeon Reay began to move off. Stood far back in the queue, I spotted the Kat leaving without me and gave chase, but to no avail. With my ride gone, I resorted to finding another way aboard. No, I wasn’t allowed to walk
Jon: Well Laura, thanks to video evidence supplied after the event, I can reveal the actual timeline of that fateful day… With our Kat second from the front of the queue, my co-pilot had decided to wander off half a mile away right to the very back. Achieving levels of method acting that even Oscar winners would be proud of, Goldfish Laura suddenly became totally oblivious to her surroundings – letting three lanes of bangers pass her before realising that we CarDealerMag.co.uk | 81
FEATURE. BANGERS4BEN actually had to board the big metal floaty thing in the water at some point that morning. I, meanwhile, had been in such a panic about the shouty P&O steward gesturing me to get a move on that, aside from leaving the fish to swim her own way to Calais, I’d also managed to jettison one of the Kat’s ears before we’d even boarded. Thanks to a kind member of the public though, the furry ear magically reappeared within minutes and I could breathe a sigh of relief. And oh, yeah, Laura made it on too. Laura: As our fellow ferry passengers admired the bangers, the teams made their ways upstairs where we gathered for the rally briefing. With Car Dealer Andy still absent, Becca took on his role and after Ben’s head of events, Kelly Neal, had given her speech, Batman took to the stage. By now, we had attracted much attention, and a gaggle of French schoolchildren approached, phones in hand, and nervously asked for selfies. After a spot of breakfast – and some emergency toothbrush buying – it was time to disembark in Calais. I took first shift behind the wheel, while Jon took on the role of road-trip DJ. Going impro, he forfeited the usual favourites to play a selection of cat noises. Loudly. On repeat.
‘We could just about nurse the Kat to our overnight stop if we were gentle with the throttle – and that meant an end to our cheetah-like pace.’
Jon: With Laura behind the wheel, things were moving quickly. VERY quickly. While I’d spent the 150-mile trip to Dover gingerly easing the Kat along in fear of a breakdown, the luxury of two AA vans in our convoy was all the encouragement my co-driver needed to get her foot down. Flying past nearly every other team, the Kat did do us proud – startling the drivers of the more powerful bangers, who really weren’t expecting to be overtaken by a furry city car complete with wagging tail. That pace had some downsides, though. The SportKa is a bit of a drinker at the best of times – 35mpg is average for a motorway cruise – but with pedal to the metal, we were on track to empty our Kat’s 35-litre tank in less than 180 miles. Fuel was soon the least of our worries, though. Thumbing through my phone while Laura negotiated some roadworks, I thought I heard the telltale signs of a clutch starting to slip. Or did I? Laura: The clutch wasn’t slipping, Jonny was just imagining things – or so I thought. He was being an ever-so-slightly backseat driver, frowning at my
GREAT MEMORIES OF A FANTASTIC ROAD TRIP Giles Usher – Prestige Diesels For £400, our Mercedes-Benz SLK did the job admirably. Driving through the Furka Pass was absolutely phenomenal and an amazing drive. If next year’s Bangers4Ben has similar scenery then we’ll definitely be back for more! 82 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
Sean Cantillion – Geoff Cox Subaru We had an absolutely fantastic time. The Furka Pass was probably the highlight of doing the event. I’ve not done anything like that before. Our £100 Fiesta ‘Zombie Response Vehicle’ didn’t miss a beat, which was fortunate as the fake blood on the front of the car stuck the bonnet shut.
Becca distances herself from the Batmobile’s buckled wheel problem enthusiastic acceleration away from toll booths and constant overtakes. Well, what exactly did he expect when partnering up with a sportsbike rider? Anyway, it was with great relief (for the both of us) that we got to our lunch stop for the day – a ‘delightful’ service station off a stretch of never-ending autoroute. A café provided the typically French lunch of a croque-monsieur, frites and tarte aux framboises. Our comrades John Miskin and Nick Allen of Sportif were tucking into an equally appetising snack, and after a quick tête-à-tête we came to the conclusion that we were ahead of the pack. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to last… Jon: Back behind the wheel for our final jaunt to Colmar, I quickly felt the same sinking feeling once again. There was no mistaking it this time – prodding the throttle generously to get us up to 80mph resulted in nothing but noise and free revving. We could just about nurse the Kat to our overnight stop, I concluded, if we were gentle with the throttle – and that meant an end to our cheetah-like pace.
Daniel Severin – Plan Insurance Brokers Driving through the Alps was well worth it – we really enjoyed that side of it. The other highlight was the really weird nightclub in France – all elements of a great adventure!
I broke the news to Laura, which went well – until I explained that we’d probably have to avoid our planned route through the Alps the following day. After a – let’s say lengthy – discussion, and having weighed up the merits of rolling backwards down a mountain in a 1990s hatchback, we agreed to disagree and settled on getting the AA’s opinion in the morning. Come 7am, I was feeling more positive. At dinner, any plans for an alpine crossing had been postponed – instead, the whole convoy would head straight down some nice, flat Italian motorways to the Ferrari museum in Maranello. With Laura still snoring upstairs, I borrowed the AA’s Nick Kirman – and our resident expert on broken cars, Andy Entwistle – for a second opinion on our clutch situation. The news wasn’t good. After a few laps of the hotel car park, Nick’s verdict was that our Kat might make it to Maranello but definitely not back again. And so, we made the sensible – if heartbreaking – decision to temporarily leave the car behind, hitching a ride to Italy and picking up
Taking time out to strike the pose the Kat again on the way home. All that was left was to tell the goldfish… Laura: I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Leave the Kat behind? Give up so soon? Surely there was something we could do? Sadly, though, there wasn’t, and climbing into the back of the Car Dealer support Kia, we waved farewell to our furry motor and set off, feeling serious envy for every banger team we passed, flying along in their working wacky racers. Only two days in and Car Dealer had lost both of its bangers. Whoever said we were an authority on cars…? Jon: Sad as we were though, I was secretly quite pleased to be in some more modern metal – particularly when it’s as comfy as our Sportage. We’d jumped in with Car Dealer’s Jon Hickey and Amy Duff, squeezing ourselves around four days’ worth of bottled water and snacks. It wasn’t long before we’d hit Switzerland, and at least the free ride gave us the opportunity to do a bit of sightseeing through the
Stuart Samson – Samson Motor Engineers The Ferrari museum may have been the highlight, but the route we came back on through Switzerland was definitely up there.
CarDealerMag.co.uk | 83
FEATURE. BANGERS4BEN Kia’s vast panoramic roof. With heated seats on and various ’90s teen pop pumping through the stereo, I was pretty happy with our new mode of transport. In a bid to cheer Goldfish Laura up (she was still mourning the Kat) we made a pit stop in Lucerne for a bite to eat and a spot of wifi. Switzerland really is an incredibly pretty country, and as we wandered across the quaint Kapellbrücke footbridge that spans the city’s river Reuss, we couldn’t help but think we’d be quite happy finishing our trek here and settling down for an afternoon spent eating fondue. Being sensible types, though, we picked up a quick lunch (from a chocolatier, obviously…) and got on our way – the Ferrari museum would wait for no pigeon. Laura: After many, many miles of motorway we arrived at Maranello to find not a banger in sight. Multiple wrong turns took us on a tour of the not-so-picturesque industrial estate that was Ferrari HQ. It’s a good thing its cars are pretty. Having eventually found the museum, we wandered in and began to spot the other teams. GardX’s Scooby-Doo crew were admiring the classics, while a number of unsuspecting tourists badgered the Faux-rrari team, whose Prancing Horse racing overalls were not too dissimilar to those worn by the museum staff. Jon: With only a handful of car casualties reported along the way, things were positive on Monday morning. It was now all about the journey home, though our teams couldn’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. The plan was to head straight back in the direction we’d come the day before but to peel off the motorways when we hit Switzerland – heading for the famous(ish) Furka Pass, climbing to nearly 8,000 feet in the process. It wasn’t long before we’d made our first stop, though, and would you believe it, B4B16 had claimed yet another victim of the Car Dealer team. A slightly panicked phone call from Becca, co-piloting the Prestige Diesels Batmobile, revealed the extent of their problem. ‘Hi, yeah, just to let you know, our tyre’s come off the rim. We’re under a bridge on the motorway. Just in case you want pictures. Phoning the AA now. Bye.’ It transpired that the problem was a buckled alloy wheel, so when it became clear we couldn’t do anything more than hand out packets of Wheat Crunchies and take photos, we got on our way and left the AA to it. Many miles later and we’d reached the bottom of the pass, hoping that it’d be everything Andy had promised. It was. Climbing up into the atmosphere we found ourselves surrounded by breathtaking sights. Snowy peaks, blue skies with wispy clouds and beautifully smooth tarmac draped across the landscape – Switzerland was doing itself proud once again. 84 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
‘Snowy peaks, blue skies with wispy clouds and beautifully smooth tarmac draped across the landscape – Switzerland was doing itself proud once again.’
The AA support and Ben events teams in Strasbourg on the final day of the picturesque rally Our driver, Mr Hickey, wasn’t having quite such a wonderful time, however – and I didn’t blame him. For all their obsession with road safety, the Swiss seem oddly lax when it comes to uh… barriers. Taking our time so as not to wipe out half of Car Dealer’s sales, events, IT and editorial teams in one false move, we eventually made it to our impromptu lunch stop: a typically chocolate box-like alpine village named Oberwald. Having lined up our array of bangers outside the picture-postcard wooden-clad restaurant, it wasn’t just the locals who were taken by surprise by our appearance. I’d popped outside to take some snaps while our unpronounceable (and
mostly cheese-based) food was being cooked, when suddenly half of BMW’s development team turned up in the village with some decorated cars of their own. Obviously not expecting three dozen British bangers to have nicked all of the village’s parking spaces, I took their confusion as an opportunity and grabbed a few shots – much to their irritation, I’m sure. Laura: A dull drive took us back to Colmar, where we found our Kat looking sad, shabby and forgotten in an overgrown corner of the hotel’s car park. As we shifted our belongings between
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FEATURE. BANGERS4BEN the cars, I casually inquired as to who would be driving. ‘Not bloody you,’ came the curt response from Reay. So that was how he wanted to play it, eh? Fed up of being the scapegoat for the clutch’s demise, I decided to give my co-driver the silent treatment for five minutes. Five minutes turned into ten, which became 15, then 20… By the end of the journey in Strasbourg, neither of us had spoken, although thanks to the Kat’s impressive cabin noise there wasn’t exactly a silence to be broken. The awkwardness continued into the evening, and it took a couple of glasses of vin rouge before Jonny and I kissed and made up (not literally – obviously). Differences aside, we sat down for dinner with the other teams. After much more wine, it was time to hand out the hotly anticipated awards – read our panel on who won, on the right. The night came to a close for some in the hotel bar, while others decided to venture out to explore the nightlife of Strasbourg. Jon: Being well behaved, I went for the sensible option. What became apparent, five minutes before we were due to leave the next morning, was that m’learned colleague had taken the boozier route and forgotten what time we were due to be leaving. Hungover and ‘working from her room’, I was left to pose for our team pic all by myself… Still, I had bigger concerns: we had nearly 600 miles to do in a car with a rapidly dissolving clutch, so once Laura (eventually) found her way downstairs, we gingerly made our departure. It’s amazing how a trip through Switzerland can ruin France for you. After an hour and a half of dull scenery we’d become bored enough to force an early lunch stop, mostly just to have something else to look at. That helped, but we were soon back on the road again and in need of new entertainment. Still quietly adamant that Laura had killed our Ka’s clutch (no comment), I’d elected to drive for as long as I physically could. That left the ginger one free to have a nap in the seat next to me – big mistake. Once I’d run out of French Jaffa cakes to pile atop her head (in a game I plan to trademark as ‘Sleep Buckaroo’), I decided it was time for the Twitterverse to experience sleeping Laura in all her glory. Let’s call it payback for making me pose alone with our car that morning… Laura: Awaking as we approached our second stop of the day, I thought nothing of Reay sat sniggering quietly to himself. After all, we were driving along in a furry car with a windscreenwiper tail…. Luckily for my feathery friend though, I took my newfound internet fame in good humour. At least so he thought… As we rejoined the route I began to plot my retaliation, eyes firmly open. The road to Calais was long and monotonous, and the Ka struggled on anything more than the slightest slope. After a final refuel, however, 86 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
The winners Top Tweet Award 2016
This year the competition was fierce, with contenders that included the AA’s brush with border police. GardX even compiled a series of videos telling the story of a Scooby-Doo mystery. The judges were faced with a tough decision. However, they settled on a tweet by Will Blackshaw, who had the audacity to park his Primera Hound on the forecourt of a Ferrari store between two of the marque’s exclusive models.
Best Costume Award 2016
Next up was the prize for the top costume, and this went to Gemma Heathcote, marketing manager at GardX, for her various Scooby-Doo villain outfits. Over the four-day trip her disguises included a mummy and a pumpkin scarecrow. Gemma started the Bangers4Ben trip in a Velma costume which she told us was so good many people couldn’t tell who she was until the wig came off that evening!
Best Car Award 2016
Finally, the award for the best banger was chosen by the teams themselves – and it was a tough one. They were presented with a decision between Geoff Cox’s Zombie Response vehicle, Plan Insurance’s Spaghetti Bugatti, the Batmobile and Will Larmour’s Mini Coopersauras. In the end, the loudest cheer by far went to Geoff’s terrifying zombified Ford. The Fiesta was replete with everything you’d need in a zombie apocalypse, aside from the creature clinging to the roof. The teams found it hilarious, although Customs weren’t so thrilled about the guns and ammo boxes on the roof…
‘By the end of the journey in Strasbourg, neither of us had spoken, although thanks to the Kat’s impressive cabin noise there wasn’t exactly a silence to be broken.’ During the return crossing Laura seems to be all smiles but don’t be fooled by that – she’s actually plotting how she can get her own back on Jon we arrived on the final stretch, clutch thankfully intact. Even the stern-faced border guards at the port cracked a smile as they peered into our Kat. Once they were convinced that there was nothing untoward hidden in the cubic foot of boot space we had, they waved us through. Breezing through check-in, we joined the back of the ferry queue. A sorry-looking convoy of bangers awaited us, with the faster teams having caught the previous boat. As we prepared to board the bateau, my mind was still contemplating Reay-based retaliation. Would anyone really notice if a pigeon fell overboard..? Jon: Frankly, I was so pleased that the Kat had made it on board that I couldn’t have cared less whether or not I made it back to Dover in one piece. It’d only just managed it though, with the engine light choosing to illuminate the very second we made it on to P&O’s finest.
A quick fiddle with my market-stall OBD reader revealed that it was just the MAF sensor throwing a wobbly – panic over. We weren’t alone in only just limping on to the ferry, either. Heading inside, we were pleasantly surprised to find a whole host of other drivers who’d just sneaked on in time. One real shock was Becca and Alexis – whose leggy FTO had looked like it wouldn’t make it to Calais for another hour, if at all. The Batmobile had done so well, in fact, that Alexis was standing down her plans to have it recovered from Dover. The plan now was that our Portsmouth contingent – including Prestige Diesels’ Scott Shilcock and Cars of Portsmouth’s Giles Usher in their annoyingly reliable SLK – would convoy back to Hampshire at a gentle speed and hope for the best. Much Disney soundtrack reciting later and Portsmouth was in sight, so we stopped for a passenger swap and
a cheeky 9pm burger. Fed, watered and having exchanged Portsmouth-based Laura for Gosportbased Becca, we were off once again. With less than 20 miles to go – and engine light still illuminated – our Ka developed a cough. Becca and I exchanged concerned looks, and then continued our conversations. Five miles later it happened again – cue more furrowed brows. By the time we’d hit Gosport, and a mere half a mile from Car Dealer Towers, it felt like the Kat really would grind to a halt at any moment – leaving us faced with a cold walk home along the beach. Did it make it? Yes. Would it have made it any further? Debatable. And with that, our epic road trip was at an end – and despite not managing to complete the entire route, we were still proud of our little Kat. All that was left now was to hope it could limp its way to the auction and make some cash…
GREAT MEMORIES OF A FANTASTIC ROAD TRIP Alexis Cassey – Prestige Diesels Managing to cover 1,000 miles with just one gear – that gear being fourth. So while not the worst, at least it wasn’t fifth! For next year we’ll focus on getting a car that we know will keep all its gears intact!
The Judge – Lawgistics The drive through the Furka Pass was amazing and the best part of the whole trip. It’s quite an experience when you’re driving down the motorway and you see something like Spidersnet’s little Pikachu appear out of the mist or Jon Reay and Laura Thomson in the fur-covered Ka. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 87
Time for auction action!
fter a weekend of Ferrari frolics across Europe, the annual auction was hotly awaited, with all the teams wondering just where the hammer would fall for their beloved bangers. On October 28, we gathered at BCA Blackbushe, which kindly sells the cars for free to ensure that the maximum is raised for Ben – even donating all buyers’ fees to the cause. A total of £11,705.00 was raised from the sale of the bangers, with vehicles also generously donated to add to the proceedings. Fervent fundraising by our teams added even more to the pot, more than £20,000 of which came from Unipart. With everything combined, it took the grand total to a record figure of £56,448. Congratulations to Will Larmour, whose Jurassic Park Mini Cooper took the top spot at the auction, selling for £1,725. Company Drivesmall.co.uk Geoff Cox Subaru Plan Insurance Brokers Cars of Portsmouth Samson Motor Engineers Forza GardX International Fox Garage Services The AA Spidersnet Car Dealer Magazine Your Best Car Black Horse Finance Now Vauxhall Carnexions CitNOW Fox Garage Services The AA Unipart Autoparts iVendi Sportif Motor Group Car Dealer Magazine Independent Garage Association Branson Cars Brookspeed Garage Auto Trader New Star Media Blackshaws Codeweavers Auto Trader
Kelly Neal, head of events at the charity, said: ‘This year’s fundraising has raised a record amount and we would like to give our heartfelt thanks to all the teams who took part and to Car Dealer Magazine. ‘All the money raised will help Ben support automotive people and their families to navigate life’s toughest challenges and empower them to make lasting, positive change.’ Five bangers didn’t make it to auction, and three of them are yet to sell, namely, Prestige Diesels’ Mitsubishi FTO, Moneybarn’s Nissan Almera and West Heath Garage’s Subaru Forester. When they are sold, the money will of course be donated to Ben. And as this year’s rally becomes but a fond memory, we look forward to what 2017 has to bring. If you’d like to be a part of this unmissable event, email andy@blackballmedia. co.uk and register your interest now. [CD]
Make & model Mini Cooper Ford Fiesta VW Beetle Mercedes-Benz SLK Citroen Saxo BMW 5 Series BMW 3 Series Toyota Celica Ford Mondeo Hyundai Getz Daihatsu Hijet BMW 3 Series Saab 9-3 Convertible Vauxhall Vectra Volvo V70 Chrysler Grand Voyager Kia Rio Rover 600 Toyota Avensis Toyota Avensis Mazda MX-5 Ford SportKa Peugeot 406 Coupe Toyota MR2 Ford Mondeo Mazda MX-5 VW Bora Nissan Primera Peugeot 206 Van BMW 3 Series Total auction Other (private) sales Total fundraising to date
GRAND TOTAL RAISED
A big thank-you: 88 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
Bought for £0.00 £100.00 £0.00 £400.00 £300.00 £0.00 £400.00 £0.00 £200.00 £0.00 £499.00 £750.00 £750.00 £750.00 £550.00 £609.00 £300.00 £250.00 £400.00 £700.00 £596.00 £700.00 £400.00 £500.00 £400.00 £750.00 £550.00 £900.00 £750.00 £750.00
Sold for £1,725.00 £600.00 £300.00 £675.00 £575.00 £225.00 £525.00 £125.00 £300.00 £75.00 £525.00 £775.00 £650.00 £600.00 £400.00 £450.00 £125.00 £50.00 £175.00 £475.00 £325.00 £425.00 £125.00 £175.00 £30.00 £375.00 £150.00 £450.00 £175.00 £125.00 £11,705.00 £2,327.00 £42,416.89
Profit £1,725.00 £500.00 £300.00 £275.00 £275.00 £225.00 £125.00 £125.00 £100.00 £75.00 £26.00 £25.00 -£100.00 -£150.00 -£150.00 -£159.00 -£175.00 -£200.00 -£225.00 -£225.00 -£271.00 -£275.00 -£275.00 -£325.00 -£370.00 -£375.00 -£400.00 -£450.00 -£575.00 -£625.00
To the AA for its reassuring presence and assistance throughout the rally To BCA for hosting the post-rally auction, helping to ensure that we reached a record sum To our friends at Ben for their support during the organisation of the whole madcap event!
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Le Mans Cars Of The Future Could Turn Out Very Ugly
California Road Workers Have A Blast Clearing Rocks Away
Le Mans is the hunting ground of many wacky race concepts and these renders show us how future racers could look! Some of them aren’t that good-looking, to say the least. Go online to: bit.ly/SULemans
A storm in Mono County, California, caused large boulders to fall on to the Tioga Pass in the Sierra Nevada mountains. And this being America, how were they moved? Find out here. Go online to: bit.ly/SUrocks
Ken Block’s Gymkhana Nine Check Out Eight Of The Video In 360-Degree-O-Vision World’s Worst Traffic Jams Ken Block’s Gymkhana Nine was a headspinning orgy of car control, tyre smoke and Top Gear-esque cinematography – and now you can see it in full virtual reality. Go online to: bit.ly/SUBlock
Traffic jams on the way to and from the office are no fun at the best of times, but there are some unfortunate souls who’ve had to spend DAYS in their cars in queues. Go online to: bit.ly/SUTraffic
Driver Saves Woman’s Life By Honking His Horn
The Car That Lynk & Co Says Will Shake Up The Industry
Near misses don’t come much closer than this! The life of a pedestrian was saved in Australia when a driver honked his horn to warn her of a rapidly-approaching vehicle. Go online to: bit.ly/SUhorn
You probably haven’t heard of Lynk & Co – a car company that has been set up by Volvo’s Chinese parent outfit Geely. But they have got some very interesting plans for the future. Go online to: bit.ly/SUGeely
Revealed: Celebrities Brits Would Like To Buy Cars From
Bentley Bentayga Has The Coolest Headlight Washer
Have you ever wondered which celebrity would be the best to buy a car from? No? Fair enough. CarGurus have, however. And the results make interesting reading. Go online to: bit.ly/SUcelebs
With Bentley, you’re always guaranteed attention to detail, and the headlight washer on the Bentayga looks like something from another planet.. check it out! Go online to: bit.ly/SUwasher CarDealerMag.co.uk | 89
BTR Trade Pro
Quick and effective way to banish trade plate traumas BTR TRADE PRO
W: btrprep.com T: 0113 815 0680
f you have to use trade plates on a regular basis, it’s pretty likely that you’ll find them far more hassle than they ought to be. Traditional methods of fixing trade plates all have drawbacks, from security to aesthetics and legality. Velcro and rubber strap fixings are slow; vacuum fixings must have a clean and scratch-free surface to mount reliably; while magnetic fixings may not work at all. Even when mounted, the plates are easily lost and may not present at the correct angle. Worse still is the practice of just propping the plates up in the cabin windows. Aside from the fact that the trade plate could prove a dangerous projectile if it slides over the dashboard, displaying plates in cabin windows may land you in hot water for failing to show the trade plate correctly. Trade plate display legislation is a little murky, but ultimately boils down to a couple of sections of the Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001. Trade plates must be displayed externally on the front and rear of the vehicle, in the position designated for the purpose of displaying a registration plate and as near to vertical as is practical while remaining readable from anywhere on a 21.5-metre arc from the vehicle centre-line. Aside from the letter of the law, there are now Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to be respected. If trade plates are unrecognised by ANPR cameras, you could find a fine dropping through your letterbox. Without a secure way to fix the trade plate to the car, you risk setting out with a legal car but finding your plate missing in transit – and potentially collecting a fine, to add insult to injury. With existing display solutions impractical, unreliable or not strictly legal, the issue was sufficiently irritating to Tim Ashton for him to investigate a new approach. Ashton comments: ‘I came to the conclusion that there had to be a better way. I have CAD design experience and started off by designing an aluminium system intended for my own use, now designated TPH-1. 90 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
‘When it came to the laser cutting of prototype TPH-1 components, 100 sets proved to be a minimum economic production number. ‘So having assembled a couple of TPH-1 test sets, they went to a dealer friends to critique. ‘In particular, Philip Welch in York was most helpful as he has a mixed bag of really nice preowned stock with a variation of number plate styles and sizes – such as Land Rover and Jaguar. ‘Reacting to feedback, design evolutions were
implemented and retested until TPH-1 was optimised. By that time it was recognised, TPH-1 had commercial limitations as a metallic product and was expensive to produce in volume.’ TPH-1 development suggested there was a market for a paint- and trim-friendly trade plate display solution if it was light, durable, quick to fit and presented well to clients and the enforcement authorities. The resulting injection-moulded TPH-2 Trade Pro Tool is a rapid-fit device which is friendly to paint and bodywork and manufactured in abuse-tolerant nylon and polypropylene. Ashton adds: ‘What you see here is the fourth version of the tenth design, so it’s gone through a long and detailed process of evolution!’ Able to mechanically lock on to any number plate between 111mm and 215mm tall regardless of how the plate is fixed to the car, TPH-2 easily and securely affixes trade plates to just about any vehicle. Ashton estimates that for the average mixed-brand used car dealer, TPH-2 will fit 95 per cent of stock and especially those with square or unusually-shaped plates. Ashton adds that recent VAG products have a recessed front number plate feature which make fitting challenging although not impossible. As the trade plate is slip-fitted into its fascia, a mild tension is exerted by the face of the adjustable fascia nylon locking nut ensuring it can’t slide out accidentally. The trade plate preload is adjustable to user preference by the insertion of thicker or extra washers, a feature allowing TPH-2 to be used with ‘old-style’ aluminium trade plates. Fitting the TPH-2 to the car’s number plate takes less than two seconds – given practice – and ensures trade plates are displayed in an appropriate and legal manner to satisfy any ANPR system. Ashton notes: ‘Before committing to making the production tools, we produced 3D SLS [selective laser sintering] prints and did a fair bit of ‘‘abuse testing’’ including doing all the silly things we thought likely to happen and it stayed on fine – so long as the number plate is attached
TESTIMONIALS Philip Welch, Philip Welch Specialist Cars The Trade Pro system is a very clever product that we use daily. They are easy to use with minimal fuss and very effective. Before this, you had suckers that didn’t work half the time or plastic straps that flapped about – whereas this is a simple, straightforward system that’s very quick and effective. It’s just a case of hooking it over – it’s amazing that someone else hasn’t done it before now. Nowadays, the automatic cameras will pick up the number plate, see it’s not taxed and you get a ticket automatically, whereas with these, it’s two seconds and your car is legal and ready to go on the road.
properly to the car! Later, to prove how tough the materials are, we drove a car over a pre-production TPH-2 holder.’ Although bruised, the device remained useable. Produced in the UK, TPH-2 is supplied as a boxed pair of trade plate fixtures with separate universal number plate adapter plates which store in the main clamp frame. The adapter plate has a measure scale corresponding to labelled adapter slots to assist users to preset the clamping tension appropriate to unusual-format number plates. An included
‘recessed number plate tool’ is particularly useful when it comes to accessing the edges of certain difficult-to-reach designs. For regular users of trade plates, the novel TPH-2 provides a quick, neat, legal and affordable solution. by Andrew Evans (@snavEwerdnA)
Stephen Russell, Ringways Motor Group The product came to my attention from one of the members of our Retail Automotive Alliance who’d had a wonderful experience. They asked me to do a pilot and investigate how we could make our use of trade plates more efficient, more legal, and, from a customer’s point of view, more professional. It deals with the legal elements, makes sure that the trade plates are secured and in the right place – on the front and rear of the car, covering up the existing plate. They’re the most sturdy pieces of engineering I’ve seen for this application – easy to fit, flexible for different sizes of number plates and very affordable. They certainly enhanced our customer experience and I’m very impressed with them. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 91
The Motor Ombudsman
Stress-free dispute resolution THE MOTOR OMBUDSMAN
ince 2008, Motor Codes has been a keen advocate of raising standards and offering motorists and businesses in the automotive industry support to help resolve disputes. Now, after 18 months of preparation, and following approval by the Ombudsman Association, Motor Codes has evolved and become ‘The Motor Ombudsman’. Managing Director and Chief Ombudsman, Bill Fennell, said: ‘What we’ve had to do is to make a lot of governance changes. We’ve had to bring people in from outside the industry to sit on our board in order to remain impartial. We’ve also had to amend our complaints procedures in line with being an ombudsman, and we’ve brought the entire dispute resolution process in-house, which ensures consistency. ‘We’ve recruited an ombudsman and five adjudicators, all of whom have got law degrees, and we’ve made the whole process free of charge for consumers. So when motorists come to us, there’ll be no charge whilst we look to solve their dispute and deliver the appropriate outcome, whether it’s in, or not in, their favour.’ As the first dedicated ombudsman for the UK’s car industry, applying to be an accredited business is voluntary. Its neutral standing equally allows The Motor Ombudsman to offer fair and equitable dispute resolution for both the businesses accredited to it, and the general public, based on its comprehensive Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)-approved Motor Industry Codes of Practice, and consumer law. With the change of status and structure, Fennell sees this as a great opportunity for both garages and vehicle owners. He said: ‘The benefits are very similar for both parties. It will give them one place to go to, to conclude a dispute if they can’t do so themselves. ‘Primarily the customer needs to go back and try to resolve the problem with the garage, but we’re here if they can’t seek settlement with the garage for whatever reason.’ To cover the whole buying and vehicle ownership experience, The Motor Ombudsman offers four different Codes 92 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
W: themotorombudsman.org T: 0207 344 1651
of Practice, which cost from as little as £17 per month for businesses to be a part of: The New Car Code – This mainly covers the manufacturer’s warranty, as well as the warranty’s terms and spare part availability, and takes care of 99 per cent of all cars sold each year, as the majority of vehicle manufacturers, 39 to be precise, have subscribed to this code. The Vehicle Sales Code – This company’s newest code means that during the buying process, customers can be confident that they won’t be pressurised into a sale and a full vehicle handover with full documentation will be guaranteed. The Service and Repair Code – Signing up to this code means a garage promises to uphold a high level of service and provide customer satisfaction. It applies to independents, as well as franchised dealers.
Bill Fennell with Jodie Kidd
The Vehicle Warranty Product Code – Covering 70 per cent of the industry’s main warranty providers, this code deals with mechanical breakdowns, insurance, service contracts and roadside assistance. Statistics released by The Motor Ombudsman show that consumers have become fearful of having their car repaired, and when asked why this was, 35 per cent of the 1,000 drivers questioned stated that they couldn’t explain what was wrong with their vehicle, whilst 32 per cent of those asked said that they felt intimidated by garages. But Fennell sees the introduction of the Motor Ombudsman as a positive for both consumers and businesses. ‘The two main issues that consumers have is a lack of understanding of how their car works and the technical terms, plus not knowing who to trust. Having an industry body called The Motor Ombudsman, and also having accredited businesses, will help to address these concerns.’ Jodie Kidd, spokesperson for the launch of The Motor Ombudsman, added: ‘Not knowing too much about cars can put people off taking their car to the garage – no-one wants to draw attention to their ignorance! ‘Having a reliable guide to help find a reputable garage with credible professionals fills us with confidence and allows us to address any potential issues. In the rare event of a dispute, The Motor Ombudsman can provide a free-of-charge, unbiased service ensuring peace of mind and a stress-free experience.’ Fennell aims to spread the influence of The Motor Ombudsman. He said: ‘We currently have over 7,500 accredited businesses, but I’d like to see that getting up to maybe the 11 to 12,000 mark. What is interesting, though, is that we’re here not just to resolve or settle unresolved complaints, but we’re also tasked with driving excellence within the industry by looking at what people are complaining about. We can then feed this back to garages so they can make improvements to their own practices.’ by Jack Healy (@jack_healy19)
Welcome to the first ombudsman dedicated to the motor industry. We are the automotive dispute resolution provider that offers the most comprehensive CTSI-approved Codes of Practice in the sector, and brings added peace of mind for you and your customers. By becoming accredited to The Motor Ombudsman, you have one team and one number whenever you need us. To sign up to The Motor Ombudsman today from less than ÂŁ17 per month, visit:
TheMotorOmbudsman.org e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0207 344 1651
CarDealerMag.co.uk | 93
Used car dealers: Why not sell new Subarus too? SUBARU
ith a very buoyant new car market and attractive finance deals to improve profitability further, getting into new car sales is a tempting proposition for many used car retailers. The prospects for growth and value are good, but taking on a new car franchise can be a daunting prospect. Dealers can be wary of getting into the world of new car sales, and understandably so – it’s vital to choose your manufacturer partners very carefully. When it comes to the right partner, one manufacturer that stands apart is Subaru. The symmetrical All-Wheel Drive specialist that strives to provide driving enjoyment and peace of mind in all of its cars, Subaru has the qualities that make the brand as attractive a new car sales prospect as it is for used vehicles. Named after the Japanese term for the Pleiades star cluster, the Subaru marque first reached the UK’s shores in 1977, with the Leone family saloon/estate. Introduced with both optional All-Wheel Drive, as Japanese-market versions of the car had fitted since 1972, and the famous ‘Boxer’ horizontally opposed fourcylinder engine, the Leone set the stage for things to come. Since that launch nearly 40 years ago, Subaru has brought the merits of four-wheel drive to a wide range of sectors, including city cars with its Justy hatchback. The Boxer engine too – now in its 50th year – has persisted throughout the range, with four and six-cylinder variants, and both petrol and diesel Boxers available. Perhaps the most famous home for the combined layout is the Impreza WRC. Subaru has competed in the World Rally Championship since 1980 and in 1993 became a world champion, with Colin McRae winning the WRC driver title and the Impreza taking the constructor title for Subaru. The Impreza WRC held on to that title for the following two seasons, and further generations would see driver titles for Richard Burns in 2001 and Petter Solberg in 2003. This combination of Boxer power and AWD control is a hallmark of Subaru, 94 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
providing excellent control and grip in all situations from a snowy mountainside to a rain-sodden B road, for safety and driving enjoyment simultaneously. Today, this proven layout is fitted across the range on Impreza hatchback, Levorg sports tourer, WRX STI sports saloon and XV, Forester and Outback crossovers as standard. Safety in a modern Subaru isn’t just confined to the symmetrical all-wheel drive system. The brand is also pioneering safety technologies such as the EyeSight active safety system. EyeSight uses two stereo cameras mounted behind the rear view mirror which capture threedimensional colour images to accurately detect vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and even lane markers. Combining pre-collision braking, steering and throttle management, lane sway and departure warnings and adaptive cruise control, EyeSight is a suite of technologies aimed at increasing peace of mind on the road. It’s qualities like these that mean Subaru cars are particularly enticing to prospective new car dealers. Vehicles are profitable both in the aspects of margin and income from aftersales, while the prospect of taking in second-hand models in part-exchange would bolster a used car trade. New or used, the Subaru Impreza ranked 30th in a Car Dealer Magazine poll in June for dealers’ favourite ever cars to sell, and Subaru came third in the 2015 Car Dealer Power survey, as rated by dealers themselves. Scoring 88 per cent for return on investment, 90 per cent for bonus structure and 84 per cent for new car supply, the marque should be at the front of the queue for any used car retailers looking to add new vehicles to their portfolio. Representatives from the manufacturer will be at the 2016 Used Car Awards so we look forward to saying hello. Or for more information about how you can be part of our dealer network, please contact Rebecca Lamsdale, Dealer Development Co-Ordinator, on 0121 730 8190 or via e-mail on email@example.com. by Andrew Evans (@snavEwerdnA)
T: 0121 730 8190
SUBARU RANGE Levorg The newest addition to the Subaru range, the Levorg was introduced to the UK in 2015. Taking its name from a combination of the words ‘Legacy’, ‘Revolution’ and ‘Touring’, the Levorg sports tourer might be the most visible Subaru product today thanks to its entry in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC). Driven by James Cole, Warren Scott and former BTCC champions Colin Turkington and Jason Plato, the Levorg notched up nine round victories and six outright wins. Levorg is available with a 1.6-litre petrol Boxer engine, Subaru active torque split AWD and either a six-speed manual or Lineartronic CVT. Impreza First launched in 1993, Impreza is one of the most enduring names in Subaru history. Part of the Subaru range for nearly 25 years, across four generations, the Impreza has always been the family car sector’s safe, sporting entry with AWD across the range
COME JOIN US
A message from Paul Hegarty, Sales Director, Subaru: SINCE 1977, we have manufactured the world’s most capable all-wheel drive cars, having sold 15 million cars equipped with symmetrical All-Wheel Drive globally. In the UK, we are recognised as a specialist manufacturer, whose products are most effectively sold through independent retailers, most of whom are family-owned and run. Our experience tells us that those selling used cars find the franchise particularly appealing, as it is profitable not only in terms of new car margin and aftersales revenue but also because it provides a great source of quality used cars in part exchange. And most importantly for the smaller dealer, we are seen as ‘light touch’ in management style, offering all of the advantages of a premium franchise with very few of the negatives. It is for these and many other reasons, we believe, that we came third in the 2015 ‘Car Dealer Power’ awards.
Subaru Forester and a driver interface intended to cope with the world’s harshest motorsports. Today the car is the entry point in the Subaru range, available as a five-door family hatchback, starting at £17,495 for the manual 1.6-litre petrol model. The Impreza is also available with Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). XV Added to the Subaru range in 2011, XV is a compact SUV with outstanding All-Wheel Drive capability paired with a personality-packed exterior, made for urban adventurers. Closely related to the Impreza hatchback, the XV brings crossover styling and underpinnings to the practical body, sporting one of the highest ground clearances in its class. Available with petrol or diesel versions of the Boxer engine and Lineartronic, the XV is a car for all purposes. Forester Forester made its debut in 1997 and is the bestselling Subaru model in the UK. Designed around
Subaru Outback the concept of ‘Do anything, go anywhere’, Forester is packed with safety features, a dynamic driving experience and, now in its fourth generation, a fresh face for 2016. The Forester combines the road manners of a small estate car with the green-laning abilities of a classic off-roader, and with a two-tonne towing rating. Performance fans can opt for the Forester XT, with 240hp turbocharged Boxer engine capable of reaching 60mph in 7.5 seconds. Outback Introduced to the world in 1994 and on sale in the UK since 1995, the Outback was the world’s first crossover, successfully combining the benefits of the Legacy passenger estate car with the all-road capabilities of an SUV. For 20 years, the Outback has acted as Subaru’s flagship model in the UK,
winning praise for its practical, all-road nature. A huge 1,848-litre load space is amongst the largest of any car on sale in the UK today and combines with a towing rating of up to two tonnes to make a capable and versatile vehicle. BRZ Continuing the sporting hallmarks of Subaru seen in both world rally competition and domestic racing series like the British Touring Car Championship and the Japanese Grand Touring Championship, the BRZ is a classic sports coupe. With the iconic Boxer four engine at the front, driving the rear wheels, the BRZ has received industry-wide praise for its everyday performance and great handling characteristics. WRX STI Perhaps Subaru’s most famous name, the WRX STI represents more than 35 years of performance development, both on the road and famously on the harsh stages of the World Rally Championship. Sticking to the tried and tested format of a 300bhp, turbocharged Boxer engine driving all four wheels, the WRX STI will hit 60mph in around five seconds and provides dependable performance in all weathers. The WRX STI currently holds the record for the fastest lap of the Isle of Man TT course by any car. [CD] CarDealerMag.co.uk | 95
Ask Lawgistics .com
Car Dealer Club lawyers at Lawgistics answer dealers’ legal questions. Join for £39.99 a year to get advice like this when you need it
Are there any implications with employing commission-paid workers? Those who employ commission-earning staff need to be aware of the potential implications arising from the case of Lock v British Gas which has reached a virtual conclusion following a Court of Appeal ruling. Lock claimed he was owed additional holiday pay as the holiday pay he received failed to reflect the commission he would have earned had he been working, and his commission amounted to a large proportion of his basic pay. It’s been a long-running and complex employment case and there remains the potential for an appeal in the Supreme Court. Brexit may impact upon the way in which the ruling becomes enshrined in UK law and there are several details which remain confusing. Although the situation is uncertain, businesses that haven’t been looking already at the issue are advised to carry out an audit of holiday pay, focussing on commission to see if there is potential exposure if an employee has a contractual results-based commission scheme embedded in their pay. It is also advisable for employers to conduct a review of the way holiday pay is calculated and make provisions to increase rates of holiday pay for the commission-earning workforce.
A trading standards surprise Q
I returned from an auction recently to find that trading standards officers had called in my absence. They spoke to my staff, inspected cars and took away our invoice book. Can they do this without my knowledge? It depends. Firstly, we need to find out whether the visit was a ‘routine’ inspection. A routine inspection is defined in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 as a visit that is not brought about by a reasonable suspicion that the trader is breaking consumer law, or one where giving notice would defeat the object of the visit, or a visit brought about by an imminent risk to public health or safety. If it is not a routine visit then yes, they can call without notice. Otherwise they have to give you a notice with two clear working days between when you receive the notice and when trading standards can visit. The difficulty we have is where that notice is
not given to traders under the supposed justification that to give advance warning of the visit would defeat its object. We suspect some trading standards officers may be relying on this to simply never give notice of any visit no matter how routine it may actually be. However, the Consumer Rights Act states that in order to use this exemption from giving notice, there must be a ‘reasonable belief’ that by giving notice, the object of that visit would be defeated. Where we believe this has happened, we ask trading standards what actual belief they had that the trader would hide, remove, or alter something or otherwise undertake in some other inappropriate behaviour prior to their visit. There are rules also about times of visiting and entry into premises that are dwellings, and if officers take documents such as receipt books, they have to return them within certain timescales. If you want to know more about the powers of trading standards officers, Lawgistics can assist.
JOIN CAR DEALER CLUB AND GET ALL THESE BENEFITS WORTH £1,000s A free telephone consultation and other great benefits, too n A free telephone consultation worth £100. n Lawgistics’ Basic package worth £95. n Twenty-five per cent off the ‘pay-on-use’ legal helpline and casework service. n Up to 25 per cent off any stationery or warranty products. n Upgrade the Basic package and receive £100 off the Small Business package or £250 off the Professional package.
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Exclusive five per cent discount on your tailormade trade insurance At Unicom, we’ve been safeguarding our clients with the best protection policies for more than 20 years – so, no matter what role your business plays in the motor trade, we can have you covered for every possible risk. From road risks to legal cover, your motor trade insurance can be tailored to suit your individual needs. It’s our job to make sure that you get the best price for the cover that you want.
We recently sold a car which was said to have had Xenon lights. It turned out that it does not. Can we rely on our disclaimer? Not on this occasion because of the way the disclaimer was worded. The disclaimer read along the lines of: ‘Whilst every effort has been made to check the accuracy of our advertisements, we cannot be liable if they are incorrect.’ The problem is the use of the words ‘whilst every effort’ – because, frankly, with any effort (let alone every effort), the seller would have been able to see that the lights on that car were not Xenon lights. It is far better to word it by stating that the features advertised may or may not be present and that the prospective purchaser should satisfy themselves before entering into an agreement to purchase, that the features stated are present (or not present) on the vehicle. Also, any disclaimer should always be written close to the features being advertised and in a font size and style that makes it no less difficult to read than the descriptive text. Placing the disclaimer on a different page of a website to an advertised car will always cause problems.
WHY I JOINED CAR DEALER CLUB
Strongly worded letter that helped me get rid of an awkward customer UNLIKE many of Lawgistics’ Members of the Month, Christopher Hammond has never had to rely on the well-known legal advice firm to help him in court. However, that’s not to say he hasn’t benefited from their services. The 53-year-old director of new and used Volvo dealership P V Dobson has been with the company for more than 22 years, seven of them as a member of Car Dealer Club. The Cumbria dealership upgraded to Small Business Membership three years ago, because, as Hammond says: ‘If you need help, you know there’s always someone there at the end of the phone. ‘Should you involve a normal solicitor, they probably wouldn’t understand the intricacies of the industry and wouldn’t be able to give you an answer there and then.’ With a monthly turnover of around 100 new and used cars, Hammond saw Lawgistics as a vital safety net should anything go wrong. And while he has never had to turn to them in connection with a serious issue, a number of small problems have cropped up, which
Lawgistics has gladly helped with. ‘Around this time last year, an issue arose with a customer’s used Jaguar,’ Hammond explains. ‘He’d bought the car from us years ago, and we had repaired a part four or five years ago, which had then failed. ‘The guy was just getting rather irate. I have no idea why he thought we were responsible to fix the part, but we just couldn’t make him go away. So we spoke to Lawgistics.’ Hammond provided Lawgistics with all of the correspondence that he had had with the customer and a representative of Lawgistics then discussed with Hammond the conversations that he’d had with the gentleman. From this, they composed a strongly worded letter, and Hammond said: ‘Lo and behold he went away.’
AND ALL FOR JUST £39.99
WANT TO UPGRADE? LAWGISTICS’ Basic membership – which you receive as a member of Car Dealer Club – is a cracking deal, but what if you need something that has extra clout? Larger dealer groups or a dealer embroiled in a big legal battle may require some more firepower, and the good news is that club members get discounts on Lawgistics’ other packages. You’ll receive a £100 discount off the Small Business package (normally £695) – perfect for sole traders, a partnership or a small dealer group – and £250 off the Professional package (normally £1,295). This is ideal for franchises, a dealer group or a car supermarket and covers all areas of legal law and documentation. There really is a package for everyone with Lawgistics.
EASY STEPS TO JOIN 1. GO TO CARDEALERCLUB.COM 2. HIT SUBSCRIBE
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3. FILL OUT YOUR PAYMENT DETAILS ON PAYPAL AND HIT SUBMIT 4. WAIT FOR YOUR CAR DEALER CLUB PACK TO ARRIVE IN THE POST 5. OR PHONE 023 9252 2434 AND SPEAK TO ONE OF THE CAR DEALER TEAM
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SMMT Sales Data
Growth continues, even after a busy plate-change month ‘This was another really solid performance from the new car industry’
he UK new car market experienced modest growth in October following a bumper plate-change month in September, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. A total of 180,168 cars were driven off the UK’s forecourts as registrations grew by 1.4 per cent. Fleet registrations drove the growth, with demand rising 4.2 per cent, while registrations to private buyers fell by 1.1 per cent as the market, currently at an all-time high, stabilised after a lengthy period of growth. Alternatively-fuelled vehicles continued to grow in popularity, rising 12.4 per cent in October and 23.3 per cent in the year so far to 75,987 registrations – the highest-ever level achieved in the first 10 months of the year. Year-to-date performance for the overall market remains ahead by 2.5 per cent, with a total of 2,330,663 new cars registered. Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘September’s number plate change is always a hard act to follow so the market’s growth in October, albeit
moderate, is welcome news. Low interest rates, affordable finance packages and a range of exciting new models helped attract buyers into showrooms and we look to the government to ensure consumer and business confidence remains buoyant.’ Ian Gilmartin, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, said: ‘This was another really solid performance from the new car industry in October. ‘Slightly slower growth shouldn’t cause any undue concern at this stage and certainly shouldn’t be attributed to post-referendum challenges. After the extraordinary growth in 2015 and the first half of this year, we’ve been anticipating a natural levelling-off for some time. Sellers will want to keep an eye on private sales, but the small dip we’ve observed in these results is again
broadly in line with expectations. ‘The industry will now want to stay nimble and ready to adapt to developments in the wider economy that could affect consumers’ appetite for large purchases, and will hope that the government keeps the car sector in its thoughts during the important negotiations ahead.’ Year-on-year Volkswagen car sales halted a six-month slide after the diesel emissions scandal. The brand had 14,023 registrations in October, up 0.4 per cent on the same month in 2015. It is the first time since March that its monthly registrations were up compared with last year. The manufacturer’s year-to-date sales for 2016 are 9.9 per cent down on the same point in 2015. Volkswagen Group admitted in September 2015 that 482,000 of its diesel vehicles in the US were fitted with defeat device software to switch engines to a cleaner mode when they were being tested for emissions. The Wolfsburg-based company announced that 11 million vehicles were affected worldwide – including almost 1.2 million in the UK.
Our sector will keep doing well despite challenges THE motor industry will continue to perform well despite the challenges it faces, according to Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers’ Association. Robinson said the increasing popularity of alternatively-fuelled vehicles was a highlight of the latest stats, saying: ‘The continued strong 98 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
performance of alternatively-fuelled vehicles is particularly pleasing with growth of 12.4 per cent in October. ‘The NFDA expects demand for alternatively-fuelled vehicles to remain high for the foreseeable future which will benefit our members. ‘The Bank of England’s decision to hold interest rates at 0.25 per cent and
to revise their UK growth forecast from two per cent to 2.2 per cent are positive signals for the UK economy. ‘Record low interest rates and the highest employment levels since recording started will continue to support consumers’ confidence and help the retail motor sector perform well despite challenges.’
SMMT sales data Oct/year to date
Most-improved manufacturers in October
Dacia +62% MG +61% Jaguar +54% Seat
Worst-performing manufacturers in October Lotus -69% Alfa Romeo -42% DS -40% Maserati -34% Aston Martin -33%
Marque Abarth Alfa Romeo Aston Martin Audi Bentley BMW Chevrolet Chrysler Citroen Dacia DS Fiat Ford Honda Hyundai Infiniti Jaguar Jeep Kia Land Rover Lexus Lotus Maserati Mazda Mercedes-Benz MG MINI Mitsubishi Nissan Peugeot Porsche Renault SEAT Skoda smart SsangYong Subaru Suzuki Toyota Vauxhall Volkswagen Volvo Other British Other Imports Total
October 2016 2016
274 227 51 14,659 171 13,541 0 0 3,515 2,280 687 3,397 21,411 2,783 6,585 119 2,981 780 6,590 5,645 812 20 79 2,213 11,334 257 4,792 1,136 11,792 5,922 929 4,360 3,528 5,427 902 188 256 1,963 5,332 14,949 14,023 4,027 63 168 180,168
% market share 0.15 0.13 0.03 8.14 0.09 7.52 0.00 0.00 1.95 1.27 0.38 1.89 11.88 1.54 3.65 0.07 1.65 0.43 3.66 3.13 0.45 0.01 0.04 1.23 6.29 0.14 2.66 0.63 6.55 3.29 0.52 2.42 1.96 3.01 0.50 0.10 0.14 1.09 2.96 8.30 7.78 2.24 0.03 0.09
October 2015 2015
310 396 77 13,182 169 13,938 0 1 4,683 1,401 1,159 4,408 22,081 3,368 6,049 166 1,929 847 5,712 5,192 992 66 120 2,921 9,924 159 4,112 1,571 10,392 6,347 1,144 4,550 2,338 4,924 735 222 201 1,851 6,164 15,891 13,970 3,684 73 245 177,664
% market share 0.17 0.22 0.04 7.42 0.10 7.85 0.00 0.00 2.64 0.79 0.65 2.48 12.43 1.90 3.40 0.09 1.09 0.48 3.22 2.92 0.56 0.04 0.07 1.64 5.59 0.09 2.31 0.88 5.85 3.57 0.64 2.56 1.32 2.77 0.41 0.12 0.11 1.04 3.47 8.94 7.86 2.07 0.04 0.14
% change -11.61 -42.68 -33.77 11.20 1.18 -2.85 0.00 0.00 -24.94 62.74 -40.72 -22.94 -3.03 -17.37 8.86 -28.31 54.54 -7.91 15.37 8.72 -18.15 -69.70 -34.17 -24.24 14.21 61.64 16.54 -27.69 13.47 -6.70 -18.79 -4.18 50.90 10.22 22.72 -15.32 27.36 6.05 -13.50 -5.93 0.38 9.31 -13.70 -31.43 1.41
2016 3,399 4,265 708 153,070 1,709 152,197 3 0 57,308 23,203 14,454 53,265 275,631 52,439 80,234 2,619 29,397 12,542 79,539 69,289 12,234 298 1,191 41,977 148,226 3,562 56,508 15,889 131,628 86,908 10,728 72,472 40,440 68,737 10,251 4,025 3,063 33,556 86,250 217,905 177,043 38,888 667 2,946 2,330,663
Year-to-date (YTD) % market share 0.15 0.18 0.03 6.57 0.07 6.53 0.00 0.00 2.46 1.00 0.62 2.29 11.83 2.25 3.44 0.11 1.26 0.54 3.41 2.97 0.52 0.01 0.05 1.80 6.36 0.15 2.42 0.68 5.65 3.73 0.46 3.11 1.74 2.95 0.44 0.17 0.13 1.44 3.70 9.35 7.60 1.67 0.03 0.13
2,339 4,320 804 146,482 1,196 138,247 9 137 71,021 21,787 5,708 56,275 290,409 46,931 76,672 1,057 19,895 9,267 69,920 55,073 11,610 329 1,281 40,844 126,433 2,620 51,294 19,671 135,359 90,940 10,703 63,771 42,858 65,068 7,098 2,903 2,935 30,557 87,768 227,991 196,411 36,075 640 1,842 2,274,550
% market share 0.10 0.19 0.04 6.44 0.05 6.08 0.00 0.01 3.12 0.96 0.25 2.47 12.77 2.06 3.37 0.05 0.87 0.41 3.07 2.42 0.51 0.01 0.06 1.80 5.56 0.12 2.26 0.86 5.95 4.00 0.47 2.80 1.88 2.86 0.31 0.13 0.13 1.34 3.86 10.02 8.64 1.59 0.03 0.08
% change 45.32 -1.27 -11.94 4.50 42.89 10.09 -66.67 0.00 -19.31 6.50 153.22 -5.35 -5.09 11.74 4.65 147.78 47.76 35.34 13.76 25.81 5.37 -9.42 -7.03 2.77 17.24 35.95 10.16 -19.23 -2.76 -4.43 0.23 13.64 -5.64 5.64 44.42 38.65 4.36 9.81 -1.73 -4.42 -9.86 7.80 4.22 59.93 2.47
Figures supplied by SMMT
CarDealerMag.co.uk | 99
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TAKING STOCK. Remarketing specialist BCA analyses its latest Pulse report to give its thoughts on matters that are important to dealers for the months ahead
Record results for fourth month, but rising values are not the whole story Volumes have climbed in recent weeks and there is a two-tier market developing, says Simon Henstock, BCA’s chief operating officer for the UK
ngoing demand in the used car market saw average values at BCA continue to climb, according to the latest Pulse report we have just released. The headline average value of a used car rose to a record level for the fourth month in a row, climbing by £215 (2.5 per cent) to £8,591. Year-on-year, the headline figure was up by £599, equivalent to a 7.5 per cent increase in average values. Fleet/lease values increased by £219 to a new record of £10,236, while average dealer part-exchange values rose by £91 to a new high point of £4,644. Nearly-new values fell during the month, but model mix in this very low-volume sector has a significant impact on average values. While October returned record results for the fourth month running, rising average values are not the whole story. Volumes have climbed in recent weeks and there is a two-tier market developing. Ready-to-retail cars continue to attract the buyer’s attention and churn quickly, but in our view, poorer-condition examples need to be accurately appraised and valued in line with market expectations if they are to be sold first time. With volumes remaining high, wholesale prices are unlikely to improve between now and year end, and with the delicate balance between supply and demand likely to be maintained into the New Year, we may not see any significant spike in values or conversion rates in January 2017. Over-valuing poor-condition and less attractive cars almost inevitably results in a failure to sell first time, taking longer to move on. There’s also
the potential for holding costs to rise. When buyers have greater choice, they inevitably focus on those cars that represent the best profit opportunity in the shortest timescale. BCA is working closely with its vendor partners to ensure their stock is properly prepared, appropriately condition rated and sensibly valued in the weeks ahead. It is worth remembering that there are buyers for every age, mileage and condition of vehicle providing the price is right. Looking at the average price performance by model shape, values for volume stock showed increases across the board. With the weather starting to turn, convertible values fell back and, as predicted
Headline average value of a used car
last month, 4x4 values rose in line with the onset of colder conditions. Average values in the fleet and lease sector increased by £219 (2.2 per cent) to a new record of £10,236. Retained value against original MRP (Manufacturer’s Retail Price) was static at 42.63 per cent in October. Year-on-year values were up by £388 (3.9 per cent), with age falling by one month and mileage down by 3,000. Dealer part-exchange values rose by £91 (two per cent) to a new high point of £4,644. Year-on-year values were ahead by £243 (5.5 per cent), with average age falling marginally, but mileage increasing. More auction news and Simon Henstock’s column, p102-103
Dealer part exchange values
CarDealerMag.co.uk | 101
Volumes up by a fifth Henstock at busy Aston Barclay
100 per cent conversion rates across firm’s four sites
ston Barclay saw significant growth of 21 per cent for total volumes sold in September, year-on-year, with overall auction activity proving extremely strong. This has been driven by consistent 100 per cent conversion rates across Aston Barclay’s four sites during a busier-thannormal period for one of the UK’s topthree remarketing providers. The recent pre-plate change period in August contributed to this growth, with volumes growing by 27 per cent, year-onyear. This is due to increasing volumes of part-exchanges and fleet vehicles coming to auction and, in a typical three-year cycle, Aston Barclay is now seeing the resulting volume from two very strong years for new car registrations. This has been met with extremely strong demand following a dip in auction activity in July thanks to uncertainty surrounding the UK’s vote to the leave the European Union and the predicted summer slowdown in the used market. Growing registrations in the last three years have resulted in de-fleeted vehicles with 60,000 miles on the clock coming back into a buyers’ market, with plentiful
stock on offer. This looks set to continue with new car registrations in August totalling 81,640, a 3.3 per cent increase over August 2015 figures, as OEMs ran pre-plate change incentives to sell new vehicles on PCP finance packages. September’s new car registrations also reflected this push, with registrations totalling 469,696, a 1.6 per cent increase over 2015 and the highest total for September in 16 years. This has been evident in the strength of the dealer market, with strong part-exchanges coming into the market as dealers are also keen to source nearly new stock to fill their forecourts. David Scarborough, left, commercial director at Aston Barclay, said: ‘The impact of the Brexit vote is unknown at this time and, until the used market fluctuates, we expect the fleet and dealer markets to remain extremely strong, especially with the latter as they look to replenish stock following a busy month. However, the strength and the professionalism of the used car industry coupled with the healthy balance of supply and demand, should help prices remain strong, with the overall market remaining buoyant.’
Expansion for Independent Motor Auctions WEST Yorkshire-based Independent Motor Auctions has expanded across the Pennines after buying West Coast Motor Auctions in Lancashire. All the staff at the family-owned West Coast Motor Auctions, which is in Poulton-le-Fylde, will stay with the business, which will be rebranded as
Independent Motor Auctions from December 1. Leeds-based Independent Motor Auctions is a family business that was established in 1979 and was formerly called West Riding Motor Auctions. West Coast Motor Auctions started business in 1987.
Developing smart ways for us all to do business
ike nearly every industry sector, the motor trade is increasingly reliant on mobile devices as a business enabler. The era of having an office in your pocket is upon us and it seems hard to imagine how we would get through the day without reading emails, messages, checking social networks and accessing data online while on the move. Underlining this, new research by BCA has revealed that 44 per cent of searches for stock are now from mobile devices. The study reveals a growing dominance of smartphones and tablets when searching for used vehicle stock with over 27 per cent of customers using smartphones and 17 per cent using tablets when sourcing vehicles from BCA’s online stock search portal, Auction View. While 56 per cent of customers still access BCA stock through desktop devices, the view is that this will decline in the long-term. To meet this demand, BCA continues to invest to ensure our customers can work with us across any platform. The growing trend of the motor trade to work remotely is driving the growth of mobile internet usage. The motor industry has always been willing to adopt new technology that helps maintain a competitive edge. Regular visitors to any of our auction centres 30 years ago would have seen buyers wielding the then cutting-edge ‘brick’ mobile phones to stay ahead of the pack. Back in the 1980s, BCA launched the Vision service which used data broadcast to send catalogue and pricing data to customers. Of course, the motor industry is part of a wider trend affecting every part of our lives. According to Ofcom, smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online, to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online. The influence of mobile devices within the motor industry can only continue to grow, which is why BCA is committed to developing increasingly smart ways for our customers to do business with us.
Who is Simon Henstock? ‚
He is BCA UK s Chief Operating Officer – Remarketing. Visit bca.co.uk or call 0845 600 6644.
ROCKINGHAM AUTOMOTIVE DEFLEET & REMARKETING CENTRE VEHICLE REMARKETING SERVICES 1. Logistics Our dedicated collection team are experienced in all forms of vehicle movement from doorstep inspection/ collection featuring detailed damage costings supported by digital images signed by the customer to the more standard movement of single or multi vehicle transporter load. With six strategically positioned UK wide drop off locations we have the ability to cover the England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland regions for all aspects of recovery. 2. Inspection On arrival all vehicles are inspected to the NAMA grading standard, the standard you can trust. This nationally defined scheme will enable the best possible prices to be achieved. Vehicles of specific grades will attract certain buyer groups therefore ensuring that vendors obtain the best audience both physically and online. The transparent grading of used vehicles within the industry has encouraged growth in the online buying practices of major motor retailers at all specialist corporate fleet sale events. 3. Presentation Every vehicle is presented to a retail clean standard to ensure the best possible financial return is achieved. This small investment is an essential ingredient to the overall result for the corporate vendor. The vehicle presentation takes place immediately prior to digital imagery of vehicles which are then uploaded to website and smartphone applications for marketing purposes.
102 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
3 UK wide inspection and collection service at competitive pricing 3 Strategically positioned central hub to provide nationwide single centre sale events 3 Every vehicle presented to a retail clean standard 3 Expert refurbishment programme tailored to your needs 3 300 acres of secure hard standing vehicle storage
3 Established auction programme to suit both corporate and dealer group part exchange 3 State of the art Online Centre to offer vehicles 24/7 direct to marketplace 3 Asset Recovery System – digital platform to track, recover and remarket the asset 3 Fleet Management Department – Experienced, knowledgeable and dependable
For further information please contact Michael Tomalin 07808 791210 or email email@example.com
Rockingham Speedway, Mitchell Road, Corby NN17 5AF
Coys sells Aston Martin for more than £800,000 on social media. bit.ly/coys105
BCA marks opening of new Perry Barr facility in fine style Inaugural event featured stock from BMW Group and Alphabet (GB) Ltd
Brett joins as national ops manager
CA’s new 20-acre multimillion-pound remarketing and logistics facility at Perry Barr staged a grand opening event featuring a superb selection of stock from BMW Group UK and Alphabet (GB) Limited. Nearly 1,000 buyers participated in the sale which took place across three auction lanes and via BCA Live Online at the new purpose-built centre. Customers attending this special opening event were greeted by talented string quartet and enjoyed complimentary catering in the on-site restaurant and barista kiosk. The sale featured separate auction lanes for BMW, Mini and Alphabet stock and every vehicle sold following competitive bidding in the lanes and via BCA Live Online. All vehicles were pre-sale prepared onsite to the highest standards in the new state-of-the-art BCA Auction Services facility, which includes a bespoke digital imaging bay. The sale achieved a near £10 million turnover that was equivalent to 100 per cent of CAP Clean and took just three hours from start to finish. Stewart Hodges, remarketing operations manager for BMW Group UK, said: ‘We were delighted to partner BCA for this special launch event at the new Perry Barr centre. ‘The facilities are first-class throughout and the preparation and presentation of every single vehicle was to the highest standards. ‘We were pleased to record such a strong result which underlines Carthe dealer newofstrip ad 3/16 both desirability the BMW
The team at BCA Perry Barr hit the ground running, said Simon Henstock and Alphabet stock on offer and the exceptional buying power BCA generates at the point of sale.’ Matt Sutherland, chief operating officer at Alphabet (GB) Limited, said: ‘Alphabet was really pleased to be part of the launch event for BCA’s brand new, state-of-the-art facility in Perry Barr, Birmingham. The vehicles offered were prepared superbly and in combination with strong customer demand plus its central location, the result was a commercial and customer success for everyone.’ BCA’s chief operating officer for UK remarketing, Simon Henstock, added: ‘We would like to thank BMW Group UK and Alphabet (GB) Limited for partnering with us to make this opening event so special and our buyers for turning out in such large numbers to bid strongly. ‘The team at BCA Birmingham Perry Barr really hit the ground running to present a superb sale.’ Henstock continued: ‘BCA 26/9/16 Perry 14:32 Page 1the Birmingham Barr utilises
THE FLEET AUCTION GROUP - THE UK’S
TRADE ONLY AUCTION
latest technology to deliver a first-class physical and digital sales programme, fully supported by our logistics and technical services capability that will meet the needs of all our customers.’ The new centre at Perry Barr enables BCA to extend its physical and digital remarketing offering, to deliver a comprehensive nationwide service across 24 locations and the digital space. The new centre offers customers a range of defleet, inspection, preparation, refurbishment, appraisal post-valet and logistics services. Remarketing facilities include three auction lanes plus a state-ofthe-art digital auction suite. There is undercover viewing for 450 vehicles, customer parking for over 400 vehicles, a restaurant, barista kiosk and business suites, and a full range of buyer services. The BCA Auction Services facility offers a full range of valeting and Smart Prepared services, appraisal post valet, digital imaging bay and BCA Assured by the AA.
ASTON Barclay has announced the appointment of Brett Henderson as its national operations manager. Henderson has more than 20 years of sales and operations experience in the vehicle remarketing industry. He will support the delivery of operational excellence for customers by working with the four centre managers in Leeds, Prees Heath, Westbury and Chelmsford, in addition to the central team. Reporting to group operations director Martin Potter he will also take responsibility for the development and implementation of some of the company’s new products and services. Potter said: ‘Brett has a wealth of remarketing experience which we will put to good use across the group. ‘Optimising operational efficiencies at both centre and group level will ensure we continue to offer an excellent service to our customers.’
Purpose built 12 acre auction complex Central UK location Fixed cost buyers premium Fleet Car Sales every Monday & Thursday at 10am Collection of vehicles 24 hours a day, 7 days a week Excellent variety of weekly stock from premium sources Regular Top Car Sales. Vans, Truck & Plant every week Enclosed and heated auction halls and viewing area All new website & stock locator. On-line bidding The UK’s finest auction restaurant Call for account application
The Fleet Auction Group Ltd., Stephenson Industrial Estate, Coalville, Leicestershire LE67 3HG Telephone: 01530 833535 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.fleetauctiongroup.com CarDealerMag.co.uk | 103
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Investors slow to put capital into our sector Brexit uncertainty reduces confidence in the wider economy, says Adam Cottam
ctober saw another month of falls in UK motor retail stocks and it is quite apparent that investors are hesitant to put their capital into the sector. The FTSE 100 continued to climb, however, which mirrored the UK’s economic performance. Better-than-expected growth in Q3 following the EU referendum prompted the Bank of England to nearly double its 2017 forecast in a record revision of the original estimate. Vertu released more record results for the first half of the year, with strong used and aftersales performances reported. Marshalls and Pendragon also shared trading updates, painting robust pictures despite concerns over share prices. It was quiet on the transaction front, with no activity other than a land purchase by Caffyns. Share price performance Once again, share prices in the industry continued to fall. None of the share prices of the businesses above were as high as they were at the turn of the year. Once again, we think this is due to the perception that the shares are oversold, and that investors are worried about the anticipated softening of the new car market. However, the FTSE 100 continues to improve and the majority of economic data being released shows the UK economy in a better-than-expected state after the EU referendum. In light of the much better-than-anticipated 0.5 per cent growth reported in Q3, the Bank of England revised its economic growth forecasts for 2017 upwards to 1.4 per cent – almost double its original estimate. Despite the apparent strength of the economy, there is a long way to go before the
Share price movement from January 1 to October 31, 2016
Share price movement from January 1 to Sept 30, 2016
negotiations on an exit begin, a period which could potentially be extended by the High Court ruling that the UK Parliament must vote prior to any triggering of Article 50. At the time of writing, this was to be challenged by the government but the situation just adds to the uncertainty which causes volatility in the markets and reduces confidence in the wider economy. In particular, we all wait to see how the manufacturers react once the terms of our exit are more concrete. The UK government has already had to give assurances to Nissan to ensure their Sunderland plant continues operations, which is, of course, great news. However, it gives a window into the concerns manufacturers have around the situation. Financial performance We saw three trading updates in October, starting with the final H1 results for Vertu. Once again, the group published record numbers
Made in Sunderland: Nissan’s Qashqai
with strong performances in aftersales and used, illustrated by the fact 72 per cent of the group’s gross profit was attributable to those two segments. This was particularly key given the 4.2 per cent drop in like-for-like new retail volumes, and the wider concern that the new car market is likely to soften – Vertu seems well-placed to face this challenge. The group continued to demonstrate its successful acquisition strategy as £63.7m was added in revenue from recent acquisitions, and these new businesses were already earningsenhancing which was impressive given the period reported included no March plate-change. This was reflective of the quality of the businesses being acquired, as Vertu continued its policy of adding more premium sites to its portfolio. The majority of the £35m cash raised in March has now been deployed. In an unscheduled release, Marshalls issued a three-month trading update in light of the share price fall it had seen in the lead-up to the announcement. To the date of the release (October 18, 2016), the share price had fallen by 25 per cent YTD prompting management to update the market on the company’s performance. The message was positive, citing growth in revenue and profit from the SG Smith and Ridgeway acquisitions. Like-for-like sales and profit had also grown in the period, and new unit sales growth in September outperformed the wider UK market. An interim management statement was also released by Pendragon detailing their threemonth performance to September 2016. LFL sales in the group were up 5.7 per cent and profit was also up 6.3 per cent. Visits to the Stratstone and Evans Halshaw websites were growing which reflects the positive impact of the digital strategy the group has implemented. In May, a £320m share buyback scheme was announced, and to the end of September, £6.1m of this had been completed. Transaction activity Once again it was a quiet month for the listed retailers in UK motor retail. The only transaction that took place was a land purchase by Caffyns. They bought a 2.1-acre plot adjoining their existing Ashford operation, which will be used to expand their used car business.
Who is Adam Cottam? He’s corporate finance executive at dealer profitability specialist ASE plc. You can read ASE’s column here every month. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 105
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Two non-executive directors appointed to growing Tootle CEO is ‘delighted to have their expertise and industry knowledge on board’
ootle.co.uk, which helps dealers source stock directly from private sellers, has appointed Geoffrey PageMorris and Roddy Graham as nonexecutive directors. Gordon Tulloch, who was appointed as the new CEO in July, has brought Page-Morris, left, and Graham on board to bring high-level industry expertise to Tootle’s expanding team. Graham is a strategic leader with extensive experience in the vehicle rental, vehicle fleet management and leasing industries. He was the commercial director and co-owner of Leasedrive Group, which was sold to HG Capital for more than £100 million in 2013. He was also the chairman of the Institute of Car Fleet Management, a non-profit organisation aimed
at enhancing the knowledge and professionalism of people working within the automotive fleet industry, for more than 10 years. Page-Morris is an automotive executive, with more than 30 years’ experience in the industry. He was group operations director of Sytner Group. During this time, he was part of the senior management team that made a substantial contribution to the growth and success of Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Honda and Volvo.
The appointment of Graham and Page-Morris will help Tulloch push forward towards Tootle’s next funding round, following its £1.75 million seed round last year. The site sold almost £1.3 million worth of cars in August, and currently boasts an average growth rate of 52 per cent month-on-month. The company says its premise is simple, telling potential users: ‘We think you’ll get the best deal when selling your car by offering it to lots of potential buyers. Tootle makes it easy for you to do this.’ Tulloch said: ‘I am delighted to welcome Roddy and Geoffrey as nonexecutive directors to Tootle. ‘I am delighted to have their expertise and industry knowledge on board where they will play a crucial role in our expansion strategy.’
Chris is general sales manager HENDY Honda Portsmouth has appointed Chris Bacon as its new general sales manager. Bacon brings with him more than 20 years’ experience in the motor trade, having also worked at other big-name manufacturers, including Ford. Before joining the Honda team, he previously spent seven years in a similar role at Jaguar Land Rover. He will be responsible for overseeing all sales processes, engaging with customers and ensuring targets are met. Bacon said: ‘I’m thrilled to have joined Honda at this fantastic time for both the dealership and the brand. ‘I want to continue to help improve the brilliant service the dealership offers to its customers.’ Ian Bennett, Hendy Group Honda franchise manager, said: ‘Chris is a fantastic addition to our growing team.’
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With time on your side, you’ll get there!
have been writing for Car Dealer now for more than six years. It seems like a long time – and the motor trade has definitely changed significantly. Think about where you were and what you were doing six years ago – no doubt a lot has changed for you, too! Now, imagine what it must be like to be a supporter of the Chicago Cubs. They last won a World Series baseball title 108 years ago. To give you some context, that is like Manchester United always being in the top division in football and not winning a trophy for the same period of time. The world has seen two world wars, the invention of sliced bread, let alone the arrival of the internet, yet for four generations, there was no success for fans of one of the biggest clubs in baseball to celebrate. There was also a quirky back story that involved a disgruntled fan placing a curse on the team which commonly surfaced whenever they looked like winning anything. Anyway, this biblical drought finally ended early in November when they triumphed over the Cleveland Indians in a nailbiting series. And if proof were needed that their fans were happy about their success, officials estimated that five million people showed up to the Chicago Cubs’ parade and rally, making it the seventh largest gathering in human history. To me, while the players clearly deserve much of the credit, there is one man who has – not for the first time – made the seemingly impossible, possible. His name is Theo Epstein. Epstein joined the Cubs five years ago and during the first three years oversaw a huge change in culture, staff and performance. Epstein had accomplished the same feat with the similarly starved – albeit not so drastically – Boston Red Sox, another huge team with a fiercely loyal following. Indeed, he was so successful that although it has been five years since his departure, the team has continued to do well. This is not easy when you have fans and stakeholders demanding immediate success. Imagine saying to your boss at each accounts review or monthly appraisal that you are building for the future – adding prospects and customers to your parc but without actually selling them anything. All of us face a daily grind where we are getting no thanks from our customers, the brand, loved ones at home. We also ask a lot of our people and expect immediate results. Maybe we should all be more patient. Theo Epstein and his Chicago Cubs prove that sometimes some proper time is all you need.
‘All of us face a daily grind where we are getting no thanks.’
Who is James Litton?
James is general manager – director of Volvo Cars Poole. He always has something to say about the industry he loves. 108 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
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The incident that sadly polished off my career
ollowing 15 years as a sales executive, I’d grown weary. Yes, the role involved challenges aplenty – as well as the odd trip in an exciting car – but I’d decided that my career had run its course. I had decided to give it one more week before handing in my notice. If nothing picked up in that time, then I’d pack my bags and head to pastures new. When the Monday of my ‘last’ week rolled around, I wasn’t hoping for much to change. The forecourt was the same, the desks were the same and even the water cooler hadn’t been changed. Everything was as it always was. We did, however, get a delivery of high-grade polish for the workshop. For some reason it had come to the main desk and, as I was looking for something to do, I volunteered to take it through to the back. Curious as to why this type of polish was so expensive (I’d seen the price on the boxes), I set out to conduct my old field test. It was my last week, after all. I took one of the canisters of polish from the box, before setting it to one side. Shaking the rattle can in readiness, I had a brief moment to wonder whether it was a good idea – but what was the worst that could happen? Spraying a thick amount of the polish on to the tiled floor, it quickly disappeared. I did a quick slide across it, before I was distracted by my phone ringing at my desk. As I hurried across to take the call, I quickly forgot about the polish. However, during the phone call, I noticed my manager – who appeared to be in some sort of rage – storming across the dealership. He was heading straight for my field test area completely unaware that the floor in front of him was like sheet ice. With one foot on the patch in question, he flipped into the air and came crashing down to earth. When I say earth, I mean the large box of polish canisters. The noise of the crash was only beaten by the sound my manager made as he lay spread-eagled on the floor. It was a bit like someone had filled a set of bellows with nuts and bolts and tried to get a fire going. Slowly getting to his feet, he looked around for the idiot responsible. I raised my hand – before walking out of the front door without another word between us.
‘He was completely unaware that the area was like sheet ice.’
Tell us your story
Have you something to confess? We’d love to hear your tale of woe. Email our head of news and features (you can find her details on page three) or post them on our forum – simply type cardealermagazine.co.uk/forum into a web browser and get confessing! CarDealerMag.co.uk | 109
..in association with Traka
Millennials and mobility A revolution is on its way thanks to the emergence of Generation Y, says Paul Smith
attended a conference last month looking at the changing buying habits of Millennials. Sometimes called Generation Y, they are born between 1980 and 1995 so they are between 21 and 36 years old today. If you are not seeing as many sales from this demographic as you might expect, it’s worth taking a closer look at why not. This group is rapidly becoming the most talkedabout socio-economic group because they are behaving differently from previous generations of consumers in some notable ways. Firstly, we know they are a good deal poorer than even the previous generation (Generation X). Their situation has been exacerbated by a combination of factors such as recessionary times hitting their job hopes and pay levels; rising house prices and increasing student debt. Oh, and finally, they are the first generation to have grown up in an always-on, internetconnected, digitised world where rapid broadband access is considered a birth right and everything is buyable online. All these events, combined with a pinch of globalisation, have collided to reshape the way this generation consumes. One major change is that they are not nearly as obsessed about owning stuff as previous generations. They tend to rent access to data storage, music, entertainment, and much else besides, via easy monthly subscription payments. They are the ‘pay-as-you-consume’ generation. This explains why they are early adopters of Uber taxis and ‘mobility services’ like Zipcar. But what, I hear you ask, has this got to do with my business? Well, quite a lot, because they are the next big generation of consumers. You could argue that we’ve already moved to a ‘hire rather than own’ model with new cars and
the used car market heading the same way. Some major brands are already reporting that 90 per cent of all the new cars they sell are facilitated via either Personal Contract Hire (PCH) or Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) agreements. In the vast majority of cases, the ‘buyers’ are in fact not exercising their option to buy at all, but instead using the previous car’s equity to help them get into their next new car, again financed by a new PCP. Many are now changing their car as regularly as they change their mobile phone. But if you look at the profile of Millennials, buying a new car ‘on the never never’ is not their style. They are more likely to buy into an apparently more affordable, and certainly greener, car-sharing agreement or some other ‘pay as you use’ mobility service. So in the future it will not be just about shifting more tin than the next manufacturer (or dealership) but enabling more people to get access to your vehicles and driving up their usage. It sounds like a small change but it has quite significant implications for dealers. Let’s examine the crystal ball for a moment. If we look forward 10 years, it is entirely conceivable that urban-based personal car
ownership will fall dramatically as more and more urban dwellers choose instead to use lowercost Uber taxis or rent a Zipcar (or equivalent) if they need to travel out of town. The danger for dealers is that some city-based dealers will find themselves disintermediated as the mobility service providers seek direct relationships with vehicle manufacturers just as Zipcar has with Volkswagen and Uber has with Toyota in London. It will become increasingly important to seek deals with mobility service providers or partner with your chosen manufacturer(s) to supply and/or support mobility service vehicles in your region. It is also conceivable that most manufacturers will offer car-sharing and other mobility services using their vehicles, in which case, many dealerships will effectively become depots for cars being rented. It may be good for dealers if they can carve the right deals with mobility service providers – instead of making little or nothing on sales of new cars and hoping to make profits up in F&I and aftersales servicing and the like, they may instead be able to engineer a continual flow of payments linked directly to usage of the vehicles which the dealership might own, maintain, dispatch and generally ‘look after’ when not in actual use by a driver. The growth in mobility services therefore has implications for the way some dealerships will have to operate in just a few years from now. Car rental operations and dealerships operating in the major conurbations will be in the frontline of this change. But they can also be the first to take advantage of the Millennials-driven mobility services revolution. Therefore, it is worth planning your response to this change now, as in that way you may be able to put your business on an even stronger footing longer-term.
Who is Paul Smith?
Paul Smith heads Traka Automotive, part of the ASSA Abloy Group brand Traka. ASSA Abloy bought the electronic key management software provider eTag Solutions, which was founded by him. Traka is a leader in intelligent access control, key management control solutions and keyless electronic lockers.
Keys can make you money… Find out how at www.traka-automotive.com The only viable key management solution for automotive POWERED BY
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0845 225 2910
110 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
..in association with Paragon Car Finance
A bigger role for LCVs The right finance package can turn a big expense into manageable monthly payments
CV registrations so far this year have surpassed 290,000 for the first time since 2007, according to the SMMT. Nearly 9,000 pick-ups were registered in September, up 16 per cent on the same month in 2015. Likewise, registrations of two to two-and-a-half-tonne vans have seen an 11 per cent increase on last year. So, what’s driving this resurgence in the LCV market? A changing economy At the heart of renewed interest in LCVs is an economy being changed by new patterns of consumption and working. The number of self-employed people in the UK has grown by 48 per cent since 2000, and growing numbers of workers are making a living in the so-called ‘gig economy’. LCVs are often central to these small, bespoke businesses. Patterns of consumption are also changing,
with the trend towards online retail continuing apace and LCVs delivering goods to people’s doors across the country every day. These trends look set to stay, and the corresponding increase in new LCV registrations would indicate that LCVs are playing an increasingly important role in the UK economy. Which other vehicles are driving these trends? Alongside LCVs and the classic White Van, we are also seeing small businesses looking to raise finance for car-derived vans and flatbed vehicles. At Paragon Car Finance we recognise what these vehicles mean to SMEs and we are always glad to consider financing them and supporting the businesses which rely on them. What are the key questions for those looking for LCV finance? Building a business is a challenge – but a good
finance package, allowing the cost of an LCV to be spread over a longer timeframe, can be crucial. Therefore, when investing in an LCV, people should consider how much they want to pay per month, and over how long a period. The right finance package can turn a big expense into manageable monthly payments. At Paragon Car Finance, we will consider lending over a period of up to 60 months, with no deposit and competitive rates. Unlike other lenders, we are also happy to consider lending to businesses that don’t yet have a full two years of trading history. Our detailed and bespoke underwriting allows us to assess each case on its merits and we don’t believe in denying finance to a promising startup simply on the basis that they haven’t been trading for two years. In such cases we will, however, look for a director’s guarantee.
If you have any finance questions that you should know the answers to but you’re too scared to ask, send them through to Paragon Car Finance at email@example.com
I love it when a
Finance plan comes together Paragon Car Finance offers lending packages to Light Commercial dealers. With a range of attractive deals, we’re confident your customers will find the right deal for them.
What we can offer Hire Purchase Minimum VAT as deposit VAT applicable vehicles only Loans £2,500 to £50,000 120% CAP Retail Maximum start mileage 120,000 Maximum age of vehicle 10 years at end of term
0345 149 7777 firstname.lastname@example.org www.paragoncarfinance.co.uk/lcv Paragon Car Finance is a trading style of Paragon Bank PLC. Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 5390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands, B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551. BPCF13535 (10/2016)
BPCF13535 - LCV Advert - Car Dealer.indd 2
CarDealerMag.co.uk | 111 07/11/2016 09:28
LATEST FROM THE FLEET... First report:
Seat Ibiza Cupra
A popular, reliable and relaxing mile-muncher
It’s not everyone’s cup of Going radio gaga but at tea but I’m still smitten least the fuel use is good
Speed, comfort and a big-car feel are winners
DESPITE having been on the fleet for only a short amount of time, the Mini has quickly become a favourite. I’ve had the opportunity to get behind the wheel on a fair few occasions since its arrival, and it’s proved itself to be a reliable and relaxing mile-muncher. The Clubman Cooper SD seems like it’s got the perfect format. It’s quick, but it’ll still manage 50mpg. It’s also incredibly versatile. Thanks to a much larger load area than the standard hatch, you can actually use the Clubman for more than just a weekday shop. During motorway slogs, it’s proved to be not only fast but refined. The 2.0-litre diesel under the bonnet is happy to settle down at motorway speeds, and the automatic gearbox plays a big part in this. It’s quiet, too, which makes long drives less of a hassle. The infotainment system, which is instantly recognisable as a BMW setup, is easy to use and simple to navigate. However, the one sticking point I have is the price. Our car, with added extras, comes in at close to £36,000. That’s a huge amount for a Mini. Granted, there’s all sorts of toys and a premium feel, but even so, it feels like a shedload of money. Jack Evans (@jackrober)
I’M two months into the relationship with our long-term Audi Q7 and the honeymoon period shows no signs of wearing off. Even now, some several thousand miles into our time together, I find it hard not to glance back at it once parked up for one last look. The Q7 might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d argue it’s a suave and stylish solution to family transport. No sooner had KU16 MOF been parked up back at the office for a well-earned rest after a 500-mile, 10hour business trip, though, and one of my colleagues stole the keys from my desk for a week-long UK tour. It was certainly interesting to hear a fresh opinion on the Audi, but sadly not all of it was positive. He bemoaned the fact that although the satnav should cover Europe, it struggled with Cambridgeshire’s Fens. And at just over 7,000 miles, the Q7 informed him it needed some AdBlue – a water/urea solution that helps keep emissions under control. Long story short, it swallowed up 10 litres of the stuff, having said at least 5.7 would be needed. Those small blots on the Q7’s copybook haven’t ruined what has quickly become a firm favourite on the fleet, though. James Baggott (@CarDealerEd)
UNTIL recently, I thought the little Seat was quick and well built but a touch too dull and sensible to mix it with hot-hatch royalty such as the Ford Fiesta ST and Peugeot 208 GTi. After a couple of long trips home and a quick visit to the Yorkshire Dales, however, I’m now completely sold on it. First of all, it really is fast, and the comparatively large displacement of its 1.8-litre engine gives it a meatier feel than some of its rivals, as well as genuinely decent real-world economy. It’s fairly comfortable, too, managing to iron out the lumps and bumps of Britain’s motorways without hesitation. It even has a bigcar feel, with the impeccable build quality you’d expect from a VW product and plenty of equipment, such as sat nav and Apple Car Play. I still find the cabin a little bit bland but all in all I like the Ibiza. I like the way it doesn’t shout about its power and the way it just slots into my life so easily. Maybe I’m growing out of traditional hot hatches, but given £20,000 and a choice of fast superminis, I know which dealership I’d end up in. From now on, anyone who wants the Ibiza keys will have to fight me for them... James Fossdyke (@JFossdyke)
THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Clubman Cooper SD ALL4 Price: £36,070 Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel Power: 188bhp, 400Nm Max speed: 138mph 0-60mph: 7.1 seconds Emissions: 126g/km Mpg: 58.9mpg (combined) Mileage this month: 520 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Getting to know one of our latest long-termers. 112 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro S Line Price: £65,250 Engine: 3.0-litre, TDI Power: 268bhp Max speed: 145mph 0-60mph: 6.5 seconds Emissions: 153g/km Mpg: 48mpg (combined) Mileage this month: 1,567 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Working out just what AdBlue actually is.
ANOTHER launch, another trip to Heathrow, another early stint in our DS4 Crossback long-termer. But although I’ve spent a fair amount of time behind the wheel of the Crossback, I still haven’t come to grips with the driving position. Without wanting to sound like a scratched record, I once again found my leg bunched up over the pedals, while the steering wheel was only just within reach. The Crossback also seems to have trouble picking up my favourite DAB radio station on the A3, hitting dead zone after dead zone, which quickly becomes irritating. It becomes even more irritating when you find that this seems to be a Crossback-specific problem. No other car I’ve driven has dropped this station’s signal, yet the Crossback does it without fail every time it travels up the A3. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Driving position aside, the cabin is a fairly nice place to sit and the infotainment system works well. The biggest positive is the way it sips diesel, though. Fuel for the trip from Portsmouth to London and back cost just £19. Compared with the price of a return train ticket for the same journey, that’s a bargain. Simon Davis (@SimonDavisNZ)
THE KNOWLEDGE Model: DS 4Crossback BlueHDi 120 Price: £24,045 Engine: 1.5-litre turbodiesel Power: 118bhp, 300Nm Max speed: 117mph 0-60mph: 10.9 seconds Emissions: 103g/km Mpg: 72.4 (combined) Mileage this month: 689 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Saving so much money on a round trip to London
THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Ibiza Cupra Price: £18,900 Engine: 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol Power: 189bhp Max speed: 146mph 0-60mph: 6.8 seconds Emissions: 145g/km Mpg: 45.6mpg (combined) Mileage this month: 2,481 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Finding out that the Ibiza slots into my life so easily.
LONGTERMERS Fourth report:
Comfortable, but where did all that charge go?
Time goes by but SUV is still close to Bec’s heart
Moving experience does nothing but impress
Excelling on our European adventure
NOW this may sound a bit lame, but until you get in an Outlander PHEV you don’t actually realise how deceptive it is in terms of size. Sure, from the outside, it’s a big car. But sitting in the driver’s seat and pulling into your driveway or parking space, it’s not easy to see where you should be stopping. I’ve parked several feet further out than I should have because I think I’m going to hit the wall. Now, though, I can safely say I’m a perfect parker. In other news this month, I was able to give the Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid its first charge. Until now I’d been running on petrol and some kinetic battery power, but charging it up for the first time was a painless and quick experience. And, I have to say, the driving experience with a full battery is so much smoother and quieter. Sadly, though, the charge had disappeared by the time I’d reached home – a journey of some 150 miles – so I was back to square one. I’m really loving the comfort of this vehicle, though, and as winter approaches and the cold weather sets in, I know I’ll be able to get around safely and comfortably. It’s such a solid car, designed for all terrains and conditions. Clare Newman (@ClareNewman81)
I’VE got a love-hate relationship with the Suzuki Vitara and it’s tearing me apart. It was the car I dreamt of owning in my youth because it was affordable, versatile and, let’s face it, it looks like Barbie’s beach-trailing SUV in the right colours. Now, though, it seems to have lost all of those factors (although I’m not so worried about looking like a doll any more), but is it for the best? The versatility factor is one I’ve certainly been putting to the test this month. With drives around the country and an intensive weekend of moving house, it’s been busy. On the outside the Vitara looks compact but on the inside it feels spacious. In fact, it feels too big for the road in some situations. As much as I like the stealth look of our Suzuki, its broad stance on the road feels like I could scratch those pristine alloys at any moment. But during the move itself, it managed three full car-loads of my belongings. That won’t mean too much, but I’m a woman in her mid20s so there were a lot of shoes. It might not be the fun SUV that I dreamt of when I was younger, but nevertheless it’s certainly got its place in my life these days. Rebecca Chaplin (@believebecca)
THE above picture is proof, if proof were needed, of the load-carrying credentials of our Mondeo estate long-termer. My daughter and her boyfriend (he’s the chap on the left, with his dad on the right) are moving into a home of their own soon, with one of the requirements being a washing machine. Now, as we all know, washing machines are (a) extremely bulky and (b) weigh a tonne but having grabbed the Mondeo keys for a weekend, we transported it quickly and easily. The boot’s design made it extremely simple to get the machine in and out of the vehicle, and we didn’t even need to flatten the rear seats to make room for it. It wasn’t the only flat-related task the car was called upon to perform during a busy couple of days. We also picked up curtain poles, sofas, did tip runs, and took grandparents to see the new place too – with everything accomplished in comfort and style. This Mondeo really does have so many great features – from the dash layout and levels of comfort and refinement to the build quality and safety and technology features. With cars such as this, it’s difficult to see the Blue Oval’s sales dominance ending any time soon. Dave Brown (@CarDealerDave)
HAVING only been a passenger in the Sportage, I was delighted to be given the chance to take it to Maranello and back as part of our Bangers4Ben team. The Kia had already proven its worth getting the team around on home soil, but when faced with the long, seemingly endless French roads, it really excelled. With cruise control selected, the Kia effortlessly ate up the miles. It was the ideal car for the journey – big and comfy with a definite premium feel in the cabin and a sat nav that you don’t need a degree to operate. Tackling the Furka Pass was when it really stood out, giving it one hell of a challenge. Faced with ridiculously steep climbs, hairpin bends and few passing spots – all the while with a very nervous driver behind the wheel – it coped admirably. For a big lump (not just me!) the handling was tight and responsive, the engine and gearbox seamlessly delivering as we powered up into the Alps. Most importantly, it had very good brakes – reassuring when you’re 8,000ft above sea level and all you’ve got for a safety barrier is a kerb. In all, an awesome drive where the Kia did us proud. Jon Hickey (@cardealerjon)
THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Outlander PHEV GHX5h Price: £40,899 (after PiCG) Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol plus electric motors Power: 104bhp, 385Nm Max speed: 106mph 0-60mph: 11 seconds Emissions: 42g/km Mpg: 156 Mileage this month: 1,082 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Giving the PHEV its first charge since taking the keys.
THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Vitara S ALLGRIP Automatic Price: £24,285 Engine: 1.4 Boosterjet Power: 138bhp, 220Nm Max speed: 124mph 0-60mph: 10.2 seconds Emissions: 128g/km Mpg: 51.3 (combined) Mileage this month: 908 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Living the Vitara dream – and moving with ease.
THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Mondeo Titanium TDCI Auto Price: £29,375 Engine: 2.0-litre, 6-speed automatic Power: 208bhp, 450Nm Max speed: 142mph 0-60mph: 8.1 seconds Emissions: 134g/km Mpg: 54.3 (combined) Mileage this month: 948 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT A capacious, well-designed boot that’s more than fit for purpose.
THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Sportage First Edition 2.0 CRDi (auto) Price: £31,645 Engine: 2.0-litre diesel Power: 182bhp, 400Nm Max speed: 125mph 0-60mph: 9.2 seconds Emissions: 166g/km Mpg: 44.8 (combined) Mileage this month: 2,732 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Driving along the Furka Pass. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 113
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Here are the car buyers you’ve definitely dealt with this week I
give him a fiver. Even your first plastic one. But he’s skulking around the forecourt, looking at a £154,000 Ferrari. He kicks the tyres, asks for a test drive, but you’re too busy and he says ‘he’ll come back another day’. That he does, two weeks later in a new 488 he bought down the road. Should have taken him more seriously, that one.
’ve been drinking with some car dealers. Which, as you can probably testify, is never wise. Not only does it almost always end with a hangover that makes you hope the end of the world is nigh, but it also means putting the world to rights or discussing the forecourt botherers who have been wasting your time. So, through my next-day beer fuzz, here’s what I can remember of our latest crop of Car Buyers You Almost Certainly Have Suffered This Week.
The Unsure Mummy What’s an SUV? Do I need four-wheel drive? Have you got baby-changing facilities? Have you got it in any other colour? Are the seats wipe clean? Can you hold that? He’s been sick, I need a mop. But what fuel does it need? Why is it so hot in here? I like it, but can you change the colour of the steering wheel? Do you sell rusks? Oh God, is that the time? I’ve got to pick up the kids. Bye.
The Instagrammer He’s mostly hiding behind a phone screen, face illuminated by the faint glow of a constantly refreshing feed. You spot him lying on his front, in between two cars on the forecourt ‘trying to get the best angle’. He’ll ask you to take pictures of him in the driver’s seat for his ‘fans’ and will tell you he’s very ‘influential’, before running off to take pictures of his lunch. #Blessed.
The Full House You’ve sold them a car in record time. In fact they bought the pre-reg you had in the corner for 120 days, the doom blue one with steels, and the one with the biggest commission. And they didn’t even haggle. Now they want finance, they’ve said yes to GAP and have signed up for paint protection, fabric protection and are happily paying for mats. In fact it’s so too good to be true, they’re probably a mystery shopper. They are.
The Pretender That’s a sharp suit. Well, at least it is from a distance. Up close you can tell it’s from Tesco, but still, he’s made an effort. But who wears a tie these days? Those shoes are incredibly well polished. He must be here for an interview. No, he wants the keys to the AMG for a ‘test drive’. He hasn’t got a part-exchange, won’t talk figures and seems to have done no research. To let him drive, or to let him drive off, that is the question.
The Invisible Buyer He turns up in Converse, crap jeans and a baseball cap. If he was asking for a pound for the Big Issue, you’d probably take pity on him and
Who is James Baggott?
James God, is that the Baggott ‘Oh time? I’ve got to pick AGAINST OUR BETTER JUDGMENT, WE GIVE OUR CEO THE LAST WORD EACH MONTH
up the kids. Bye’
The eBay Chancer He writes in code only youths and the illiterate can understand. It’s a modern form of hieroglyphics: part emoji, part text speak, part idiot. ‘Wot u wan 4 dat Vdub mush?’ You’ll be forced to converse with him. Your lack of emojis will confuse him. He’ll offer you ‘2 gran’ for your £4,995 offering, then take umbrage when you ask him to increase his offer. ‘Nah m8, u can do 1’. You’ll probably see him tomorrow as the next Pretender.
The Know It All He’s done his research. In fact he’s got a PhD in Car Bore. He’s scoured the internet in pursuit of his chosen machine and that four-month search has led him to you. He’s clutching a Parker’s price guide, quotes from ‘the forums’ and tells you more than you’ve ever wanted to know about a Seat Altea. He doesn’t need convincing it’s for him, he already knows. You agree a tiny discount, swipe his card and wave him on his way. You like TKIA, TKIA can come back.
He’s the founder of Car Dealer Magazine and chief executive officer of parent company @BaizeGroup, an automotive services provider. He now spends most of his time on Twitter @CarDealerEd and annoying the rest of us. 114 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
CarDealerMag.co.uk | 115
THE BCA DIFFERENCE More stock choice than our competitors*
Start your search today bca.co.uk/search 116 | CarDealerMag.co.uk
* Based on vehicle stock available for sale every month on BCA Auction View during 2016 benchmarked by BCA against our competitors.