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CAR DEALER POWER: YOUR CHANCE TO TELL IT LIKE IT REALLY IS

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Issue 96 | March 2016 | CarDealerMag.co.uk | £3.50

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IGNITION.

EDITORIAL PRODUCTION EDITOR Dave Brown

dave@blackballmedia.co.uk Twitter: @CarDealerDave

HEAD OF DESIGN Graeme Windell

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FEATURES EDITOR Sophie Williamson-Stothert

sophie@blackballmedia.co.uk Twitter: @1Sophie_W

SENIOR STAFF WRITER Jack Evans

jack@blackballmedia.co.uk Twitter: @jackrober

James Baggott meets Sajid Javid

JUNIOR STAFF WRITER Laura Thomson

laura@blackballmedia.co.uk Twitter: @lauramayrafiki

ADVERTISING ACCOUNT MANAGER Michelle Searle

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ACCOUNT MANAGER Jon Hickey

j.hickey@blackballmedia.co.uk Twitter: @CarDealerjon

SUITS MANAGING DIRECTOR James Baggott

james@blackballmedia.co.uk Twitter: @CarDealerEd

OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Andy Entwistle

andy@blackballmedia.co.uk Twitter: @CarDealerAndy Contributors Tim Naylor, Nick King, Mike Jones, Nigel Swan, Jon Reay, Jon Fleetwood, John Bowman, Ben Garside, Big Mike, Andrew Evans, Chris Jervis, Gareth Bethell, Paul Foster, Peter Spinney.

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month I’m delighted WELCOME. This to announce a host of exciting news for what has already become the biggest and most exciting motor trade event of the year – CDX16. The huge expo and conference, held at Silverstone, was attended by more than 1,500 dealers last year and for 2016, it’s going to be even bigger and even better. But as the hard work behind the scenes goes into planning the big day – which this year takes place on Tuesday, May 24 – the pace at which news of CDX has spread far and wide has taken even me by surprise. We have already had a number of delegates sign up for free tickets from across Europe, and there have been several enquiries from across the pond too, but then last month I even found myself chatting to not one, but two government ministers about our big day. Gosport MP and minister for equalities Caroline Dinenage was the first to hear about the event when she visited our offices. She was impressed with the line-up of speakers we’ve attracted and the size of CDX16, telling me: ‘It sounds like it will be a remarkable event and one which the motor trade industry will get a lot out of. An event like this encourages growth and increased trade in the industry which I fully support.’ Only a week after her visit, my phone rang – it was the Secretary of State Sajid Javid’s private secretary, asking me if I would like to meet the minister to discuss our event too. Two days later I was paying extortionate car parking rates at the NEC lining up to meet with the Business Secretary after he gave a speech to the MIA at Autosport International. After I was ushered to to the front of a queue of people waiting to talk to him by his team, I had just two minutes to cram in everything I could about Car Dealer Magazine and CDX16. The reason? I was hoping he’d be able to make an appearance at our event and show his support to this vital part of the economy. He was non-committal when I extended the invite but didn’t dismiss it. ‘Send me an official invite and if I can fit it in I’ll be there,’ he told me as we shook hands. That official invite has been sent and we’ve all got our fingers crossed he’ll be there.

If he can’t make it, I joked, he could always ask David to deputise for him… To find out the latest about CDX16 turn to p10. YOU’VE GOT THE POWER! Every year we put the power to praise into the hands of those that really matter: the people. Our Car Dealer Power awards – the jewel in the crown for suppliers in the motor industry – are the only gongs voted for by dealers. Our survey, which can be completed and sent back oldschool style in this magazine or by visiting our website, gives you the opportunity to tell it like it is. We’re not only looking for the best suppliers to do business with but the best manufacturers to represent too. And we don’t ask for any of your personal information to take part so you know you can answer it as honestly as you want. We know the car makers and suppliers take these awards very seriously indeed and at the prize-giving at the top of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth every year we find out just how much a win means to them. So if you think someone has been doing a great job for you this year, or perhaps not, now is your chance to tell them. Turn to p16 for more details. FOCUS ON FAST FORDS Long-term readers will know I have a penchant for fast Fords. Ever since I had that poster of an Escort Cosworth on my bedroom wall I’ve loved the firm’s ability to turn otherwise humdrum cars into desirable performance machines. That’s why I covet my Fiesta XR2 that’s tucked away in the garage so much. This month we’ve been out and about testing the latest Focus RS and you can probably guess just how good it is. But to mark this much-anticipated launch, we also decided to get together some of its more recent ancestors and chat to dealers about how much they love fast Fords too. Enjoy our feature from p56.

James Baggott Managing Director CarDealerMag.co.uk | 03


We have worked with Supagard for over 15 years and now run at 40% penetration across the Group, with many of our dealerships running much higher. This makes a substantial contribution to our bottom line.

Glyn Hopkin have been working with Supagard since 1993 and we now run in excess of 40% penetration across the Group, which has benefitted bottom lines considerably.

We’ve used Supagard for more than 25 years and still believe their overall oering to be market leading as we currently achieve around 40% penetration across all new and used car sales. Customer satifaction is also very high.

John Sampson, Director of Finance & Insurance, John Clark Motor Group

Fraser Cohen, Managing Director, Glyn Hopkin Ltd.

Sandy Risk, General Manager Business Development, Eastern Western Motor Group

04 | CarDealerMag.co.uk


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INSIDE. ISSUE 96 I MARCH 2016

Dashboard Feedback Looking ahead to CDX16

56

Ask the AA

Focus RS in the spotlight Jon Reay tests the latest high-octane Fast Ford, while Andrew Evans finds out why the UK has had such a long love affair with RS models

Car Dealer Power John Tordoff interview UK News round-up Around the World Finance Big Mike

Forecourt

22 10

Celebration time as JCT600 marks its 70th anniversary

Harry Melsom of Facebook joins speaker line-up at CDX

87

‘‘

Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-in hybrid Toyota RAV4 A new long-termer joins the fleet – and proves very popular

I finally arrived, but I was knackered from piloting the ancient Land Rover through heavy traffic.

Kia Sportage Suzuki Vitara

Feature Audi-based Indian adventure Ford Focus RS Special

39 Data File

Big Mike

Car Dealer Club The Statistics Taking Stock Auctions Market Insight Suppliers’ Guide

44

Key Notes Hot Property Long-termers Jack Evans got behind the wheel of the new Kia Sportage in early February. But did he think it was as impressive as its predecessor?

James Baggott

06 10 14 16 22 30 33 34 39

40 42 44 46 48 56

70 72 75 76 79 82 84 86 87 90

OUR EVENTS... As voted for by dealers, the Car Dealer Power Awards are unique. In this issue of Car Dealer, we are launching the survey for 2016. Turn to page 16 to get involved.

The Car Dealer Used Car Awards, sponsored by Black Horse, celebrate the used car industry. To get involved in this year’s event, call 023 9252 2434.

This year’s CDX will be held at Silverstone on Tuesday, May 24. If you want to be a part of it, turn to pages 10-13 to find out more about what is sure to be a great event. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 05


FEEDBACK. Your comments via email to dave@blackballmedia.co.uk

Our website at CarDealerMag.co.uk

Yuk! The dirtiest part Took this in today (picture 1), the picture doesn’t really do justice to how dirty it really is. Can anyone beat it? No cheating, mind. s and b

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How about my Corsa (picture 2)? We took it as a px, it was supposedly clean and tidy – I had to put a new wing on it as there was a big dent and there are scrapes and other dents elsewhere. The interior was disgusting. You couldn’t see the carpet for dirt and the seats were just as bad. Still, it came up all right in the end. Not bad for £700, it’s an ’08 Life 1.2 and has been my daily runner for six months. It owes me a radiator :) Steve92 A few years ago, I went to demo a car at a customer’s house. Alarm bells should have started ringing at the ‘beware of the dogs’ sign. Anyway, the demo went well and we started to talk about the part-exchange, a five-year-old Mondeo estate. I was taken to the car and opened the doors. I gagged at the smell coming out, the back seats were down and the whole of the rear was covered in dog hair and dog fluid. It’s the only car I’ve never offered a value on! James Bush Not a part-exchange but about 10 years ago I sold a Tata Loadbeater pick-up to the local egg farmer. Imagine stereotypical Devon/Dorset farmer type and you get the idea. He brings it back for service and MOT and I have to drop him back to the farm in it. In the back are six big dustbins which he asks me to unload. This was not a problem – I was expecting them to be full of grain. I was wrong, they were full of the slops and waste food scraped off people’s plates from the local holiday camp. I’m sure people don’t have stew and dumplings for breakfast so they were clearly from the day before and left in the summer heat. I still remember the smell. Gavin@Rousdon At a place I used to work, we managed our own

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fleet – disposals and refurbs etc. A sales guy’s Mondeo came back and it looked like he’d put a wood-chipper in the boot before feeding three quarters of a forest into it. It took the valeter five hours to get the bits of wood and leaves out of the boot, the back seats were full of dog hair and various bits of trim were cracked and scratched. Goodness only knows how he trashed it so badly in four years. Jamie Edmonds I took a Citroen C1 in two months back. It was one of those deals I gave the right sort of money to resell but when the car came in and the deal had been done (must have been off the ball that day), I could not believe the state of the vehicle, I have never seen so much mould! It was in every crevice you could imagine. It was that bad I sent it to the block rather than try to tackle it. I wiped down the seats and dash with G101 and sent it packing.

Trying to have a dry January...

Picture of the month

Is there any explanation as to why at this time of year the interior of a car can be dry and yet as soon as you pull a seat belt down it looks like Stilton? sparky

Dear reader, a little insight into the trials and tribulations of bringing you this wonderful magazine every month. We asked a travelling companion of Jonny Fleetwood (our legendary and loqacious photographer, pictured right) for a caption to embellish this month’s amusing image. What we received in return was the following: ‘Making full use of the Mercedes S Class’s fold-out tables and leg room, blah blah blah...’ Not quite what we had in mind, but probably fairly accurate. Thanks @jonreay.

Open the boot or window daily – let air circulate. Keep them closed and you’ll be selling a big fur ball. Econimotor Attach balloons to the wing mirrors. The helium absorbs the excess moisture and carries it away. Rosemotors

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However, the auction had no luck and could not even get anywhere near what I paid. So I went to collect it, and my god! It was even worse than when I left it! No wonder no-one had made a reasonable offer for it. I had the window down all way back to base and was about to throw up, it was that bad. The next day, we gave it three hours of intense shampooing and a thorough clean. We put the heaters on and dried it out. Next day, it was still coming back in places, so we removed the seats, jet-washed them, and got George (that’s our wet-dry cleaner by the way lol) on all the carpet. In the end, it came up good and we sold it for £1,795. £260 profit out of a car that was nearly a lost cause. betginge A photo from last year (picture 3), one of the worst I’ve ever seen for rubbish. Chris

More and more of our readers are joining the debate – and it couldn’t be easier 06 | CarDealerMag.co.uk


On Twitter: Follow @CarDealerMag

Forum: CarDealerMagazine.co.uk/forum

exchanges ever! Tweets of the month Top tweet Have you visited the Alfa Romeo Museum? You’ll discover some of the most beautiful Alfa Romeos ever made. Alfa Romeo UK @AlfaRomeoUK

Showing our support to @BatleyRLFC at @FordUK #Batley! Proud sponsors of our #local team. Evans Halshaw @evanshalshawuk

The production version of C-HR will be revealed at the Geneva motor show exactly a month from now. Excited much? ToyotaGB @ToyotaGB

We’re on the hunt for a Senior Dealer Marketing Consultant. Must have car dealership experience. Interested? Contact iwanttowork@tbwa.com @TBWALONDON

Legendary Arkansas Car Dealer, Darrel Teeter passes away. @KATVNews 25 years of a classic. Here’s to the next 25. #Clio RenaultUK @renault_uk

I don’t associate with my exes, that’s like trading ya car in to the dealer and keep coming back to ask em how the car is doin, who cares. @OBDdaDON

FEEDBACK

Are our local drivers terrible, or does Vauxhall have a problem? We opened our service / performance centre in April last year and in this time we have had to replace or recondition eight Vauxhall six-speed gearboxes! Some have been under our used car warranty; some have been for vehicles part-exchanged, but as this seems to be quite a recent problem we have been experiencing, I would love to know if anyone else is experiencing the same problems? The problem is mostly, but not restricted to, Vauxhall Astras (07 to 09). However, we have also had two Zafiras about the same age and last week a 10-plated new-model Astra 1.4 Turbo SRi! So is it just me, or just Aberdeenshire drivers, or is it a major build quality issue that Vauxhall needs to address? jimreidvehicle Standard fault with the six-speed box, normally a whining noise through the gears; we’ve had quite a few as we sell a lot of Astra SRI CDTIs. Also had it in Zafiras with the 1.9 Z19DTH engine and Fiat Grande Punto Sportings with the 1.9 diesel Multijet engine, all using the same gearbox. It’s a common fault and doesn’t seem to be age or mileage-related, just assume it to be down to how the car has been driven from new! Chris Welcome to the world of the Vauxhall M32

gearbox! Whining in fifth and sixth gear and finally the bearing goes through the gearbox casing. I think it’s due to the bearing overheating but I may be wrong. We have rebuilt a few as one of our trade customers buys ‘non-running’ Vauxhalls (oh joy!) but now prefer to just fit a recon box. It can happen at any mileage but watch out for cars around the 80k mark. Also fitted to the Astravan and Vivaro (plus Renault Trafic and Nissan Primastar). Be careful if using second hand gearboxes as a fix as I believe the ratios are different for cars and vans. If anyone needs a recon M32 gearbox, I use a company who are fantastic and slightly cheaper (about £150), than those who advertise on eBay and other sites. Very professional outfit and highly recommended here in the South West. Happy to pass on their number if anyone wants it. Gavin@Rousdon Is the M32 box fitted to both 120bhp and 150bhp models? Have replaced quite a few flywheels on the 1.9 CDTis but touch wood, have yet had to replace a gearbox. sparky Surely James Baggott can help? He has a good relationship with Vauxhall, I understand. williamblackshaw

JCT600 @jct600 Reflecting back on a few key moments from last week’s #JCT600Conference #70years

n Read more about the conference from page 22

It had to happen one day... and now it has. I’m mortified I knew it would happen one day, but I didn’t realise it would be like this. I am truly devastated. Utterly mortified. I have nearly completed year five and it has finally happened. I handed over a car on Saturday and 30 miles later it suffered a catastrophic engine failure. I strangely found it quite funny, to be honest. Obviously I was refunding the money, it wasn’t going to be a battle for either party. So with that already established almost immediately, I laughed. It is just bad luck. We live and we learn. Well, there isn’t anything to learn from this. The guy was still incredibly satisfied with the buying experience and understands that it is total bad luck. He is getting a refund and everyone is happy! jamslug Everything that breaks was OK 10 seconds before it broke, that 10 seconds could be three years after they have purchased the car or three minutes! We can’t tell the future and deal with things of a mechanical nature, at some point they will break. Amazingly, most workshops aren’t full of cars which people have just purchased so it is a rarity, even more so if you prep the cars properly. It would be interesting to know what percentage of p/x’s show faults within seven days of being traded in compared to cars customers have just purchased! Gavin@Rousdon This selling cars is all a numbers game. You get a bad one every so often and there is nothing you can do. You did the right and decent thing and acted honestly. Good on you because plenty of our trade competitors would not. These things happen, not very often, and it is the game we all play. RS Car Sales

to get involved! Sign up to our forum at CarDealerMagazine.co.uk/forum CarDealerMag.co.uk | 07


DASHBOARD.

Managers are prosecuted over outstanding finance

APPOINTMENT

New chief exec at Car Care Plan

Bosses admit they didn’t carry out HPI check on car that was repossessed

T

he managers of a company which sold a car that was later repossessed because it had outstanding finance on it have been prosecuted. Trading standards officers launched an investigation after being contacted by a woman who bought a 55-reg Citroen C3 from One Direction Cars in Canal Road, Cwmbach, near Merthyr Tydfil, in May 2014. She said at no time during the sale was she informed the vehicle still had outstanding finance on it. Yet she was contacted by a company called Mobile Money, after she had bought the car, demanding a £900 payment. Mobile Money gave the buyer the chance to sort the matter out with One Direction cars, but nothing was resolved and the car was repossessed. Trading standards officers were

08 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

initially told Tahir Karim, who effectively ran One Direction Cars, was in the process of sorting the matter out. Officers carried out an HPI check which revealed the car had money owed to Mobile Money from 2013. Letters were sent to One Direction Cars’ offices in Cwmbach, Zaher Tarim, 35, the director and Tahir Karim, 45, by trading standards officers, inviting them to an interview. An unsigned response came back from Tahir Karim, stating he had left employment with the business in November 2014, but claiming he could speak on behalf of the company. He went on to explain that the garage carried out HPI checks, but not on older vehicles. He said there was no HPI check on this car as they had bought it in a state of disrepair. They were unaware of the

outstanding finance. He also confirmed the garage now undertook HPI checks on all vehicles. One Direction Cars Ltd, Zaher Karim and Tahir Karim admitted one offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 at Pontypridd Magistrates Court. The company was fined £400 and ordered to pay costs of £200 plus a £40 victim surcharge. Tahir Karim was fined £300 and ordered to pay costs of £200 and £40 victim surcharge. Zaher Karim was also fined £300 and ordered to pay costs of £200 and a £40 victim surcharge. Paul Mee, director of public health and protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf council, said: ‘We do take offences seriously and will investigate and prosecute where appropriate.’

PAUL NEWTON has been appointed chief executive officer of Car Care Plan. Former CEO Tim Heavisides has become chairman, after 34 years with the group. Newton, above, previously Car Care Plan’s chief operating officer, has over 25 years’ experience at board level in a variety of financial services industry companies. He has spent the last 13 years with Car Care Plan, where he has held a number of board-level positions. He said: ‘I’m delighted to be taking over as chief executive at such an exciting time.’


CarDealerMag.co.uk | 09


DASHBOARD. Book your FREE tickets at cardealermagazine.co.uk/events/cdx16/

Facebook, Google and Twitter With a great line-up of speakers, over 100 motor trade suppliers on board and an iconic venue, it’s an event not to be missed! by SOPHIE WILLIAMSON-STOTHERT @1Sophie_W

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t’s the biggest automotive expo of its kind and we’re pleased to announce that keynote speakers from digitial media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google will be making an appearance on the Car Dealer stage at CDX16. To be held at Silverstone on Tuesday, May 24, CDX will be spread across three halls and packed with information for dealers to better their businesses and learn about new products. Facebook is one of the most popular and accessible social media platforms for dealers to promote their business. ‘With over a billion users worldwide, we’re dedicated to connecting businesses with all the people that matter to them, to drive real results,’ said Harry Melsom of Facebook. ‘I’m looking forward to attending CDX16 and finding out what marketing challenges businesses are facing.’ CDX16 will feature more than 100 motor trade suppliers, a line-up of topical workshops to help you learn new tricks, the biggest names in the motor trade – at manufacturer and dealer level – and endless networking opportunities at manufacturer dealer meetings. A MUST FOR THE MOTOR TRADE James Baggott, founder and managing director of Blackball Media, publishers of Car Dealer magazine, said: ‘We are delighted to have secured Facebook, Twitter and Google ­as keynote speakers for CDX16 – three of the biggest influences on the motor trade industry. ‘Haymarket Automotive’s editorial director, Jim Holder, will also be passing on his knowledge and experience of the industry from his perspective. ‘CDX16 is a must for motor trade professionals. As well as a chance to network and explore new suppliers, delegates can also be inspired by informative workshops providing an insight into new ways of working. ‘It’s a one-off event of the year, which means it’s even more important not to miss it.’ So what are you waiting for? Head over to CarDealerMagazine.co.uk to book your FREE tickets for the must-not-miss event of 2016. We look forward to seeing you there! 10 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

THE 140 MOST INFLUENTIAL DEALERS ON TWITTER TO BE NAMED THAT’S right, folks; Car Dealer Magazine’s prestigious list of the industry’s most influential dealers on Twitter has returned – and we’ll be announcing this year’s winners at the Top 140 breakout session at our annual conference and automotive expo. You may have noticed that we’ve changed the name from Top 150 to Top 140. For those of you who are keen tweeters, working out why we’ve made the change will be pretty selfexplanatory… How many characters can you fit in a single tweet? Clever, right? Since it was launched in 2013, the list of the most influential dealers on Twitter has been highly anticipated by the motor trade, with many dealers lining up at our annual conference and expo to find out before anyone else where they were placed. Last year, Georgina Parnell from Twitter UK (@parns) handed out the awards to our best-placed dealers and hosted a Q&A session with the delegates. We’re thrilled to announce that Twitter will be returning to CDX in 2016, with Lucy McHenry (@lucymchenry), head of agency sales at the social media giant, handing over the glitzy trophy to the most inspiring tweeter in the trade over the past 12 months. We caught up with McHenry who told us: ‘The most successful brands have known for years, the importance of delivering the right message, to the right audience, at the right time. ‘Twitter’s formats and tools, combined with its live and open nature, makes Twitter the perfect platform for doing exactly this. Twitter is excited to be attending CDX16 this year, and we look forward to seeing you there.’ Prestige Diesels, Portsmouth, was the overall

winner in 2015, climbing from second to the top spot with an impressive margin of four Klout points, which is how we judge where you stand in the running order. We’ve already started making initial investigations into which dealers should be in our Top 140 and we’ll be revealing the data at some point between now and May 24. To make sure you’re considered for the list you can tweet us @CarDealerMag or @CarDealerEd or email us on editorial@blackballmedia.co.uk. Remember, you need to be in it to win it. So, if you want to take home the Top 140 trophy, keep on tweeting and sign up to CDX16 today. Why should YOU be there? CDX is the only place where you can find out who the industry’s most influential dealers on Twitter are – before anyone else. The Top 140 recognises the best-of-the-best and further boosts their presence on one of the world’s favourite social media platforms. If you want to be considered for the list, tweet @CarDealerEd, @CarDealerMag or email editorial@blackballmedia.co.uk. Alexis Cassey, left, picks up her trophy last year

LAST YEAR’S AWARD WINNERS Most Influential Dealer 2015: Prestige Diesels (@PrestigeDiesels) Most Influential Franchised Dealer 2015: Perrys (@perrysmotors) Most Influential Independent Dealer 2015: Alexis Cassey, who runs the Prestige Diesels account Best Follower Ratio 2015: Captain Caralot (@CaptainCaralot), with more than 32,000 followers, despite following fewer than 500 Twitter accounts Highest Climber 2015: Greenhous (@greenhous), which climbed 62 places on our list Tweeters’ Tweeter of the Year 2015: Ridgeway Group (@ridgewaygroup) Best Twitter Photo of the Conference: Ridgeway Group (@ridgewaygroup)


CDX16 – Silverstone, Tuesday, May 24, 2016

sign up for CDX16 WOMEN IN THE MOTOR INDUSTRY WILL BE BACK

WE WANT TO LEARN ABOUT DEALERS AND THE PRESSURE THEY’RE UNDER FACEBOOK, Google and Twitter will be appearing at CDX16 alongside Jim Holder, editorial director at Haymarket Automotive. Holder is in no doubt about the role dealers play in helping to make the UK’s automotive industry a success. ‘I think dealers are absolutely central to the process,’ he said. ‘They are crucial for both the manufacturer and the customer. Ultimately, I think a lot of the buying is done on not just the product, but also how the dealership works. At the end of the day, the dealer network is a service industry. ‘If dealers act with integrity, intelligence and knowledge it gives the customer more confidence to make one of the biggest purchases of their lives.’ With the digital media giants and the industry’s top Jim Holder suits confirmed at this year’s

event, dealers won’t fall short of things to do. Holder added: ‘The more knowledge that dealers have and the more experience they listen to, the better. I think CDX is an ideal way to cram an awful lot of experience and knowledge into a short amount of time.’ We asked Holder what the dealers and even he, an automotive journalist, will be able to take away from the event. ‘It works both ways, we’re here at WhatCar? trying to represent the customer, and the more we can learn about the dealers – the pressure they’re under and the challenges they face – the better we can represent the customer form the other side. ‘I completely understand the value of CDX. ‘I’m absolutely intrigued by the event because, never mind the dealers, I think it’ll be an educational experience for me.’

‘I think CDX is an ideal way to cram an awful lot of experience and knowledge into a short amount of time.’ Jim Holder, editorial director at Haymarket Automotive

A KEY element of last year’s event was our hugely successful Women In The Motor Industry (WITMI) breakout session – and we’re delighted to announce that it’s returning for 2016. Hosted by ITV4’s Louise Goodman, the 2015 WITMI session saw four influential female speakers addressing women who work across all areas of the automotive and motorsport worlds. Our panel of key figures, including awardwinning rally driver Sara Williams and head of dealer finance at Black Horse Nagla Thabet, played a vital role in making the session a resounding success. Like-minded women and organisations were able to share ideas, discuss topical developments and inspire a new generation. This year, WITMI is back once again. Only this time, it’s set to be bigger and better than before. Just like last year, our guests will have the opportunity to question a line-up of influential women working in various sectors of the male-dominated motor industry, including World Touring Car Championship presenter Alexandra Legouix and precision stunt driver and event manager at RMA Track Days Annalese Ferrari. Why not join in the conversation on social media? To start a new topic for discussion or list your ideas or potential discussion topics for the event, tweet us at @ CarDealerMag using the #WITMI and #CDX16 hashtags. Alternatively, you can email session organiser Sophie WilliamsonStothert, Car Dealer Magazine’s features editor: sophie@blackballmedia. co.uk or visit our forum via CarDealerMagazine. co.uk. Annalese Ferrari CarDealerMag.co.uk | 11


DASHBOARD. Book your FREE tickets at cardealermagazine.co.uk/events/cdx16/

Huge expo will be packed! CDX hosts the largest expo in the motor trade. We caught up with three of the industry’s big names to hear why they’ve decided to get involved and why you should take one day out of your busy schedule to be there.

‘Superb levels of organisation, plus excellent quality and professionalism throughout.’ THE comment above came from the team at Codeweavers, the finance technology specialists for the motor trade. The company blew everyone away with its impressive stand at last year’s event and has big plans for its presence this year. After finding it so worthwhile last year, Codeweavers has decided they had to take part again in Car Dealer Magazine’s annual conference and automotive expo in 2016. The company told us: ‘CDX is a very wellknown and highly-thought-of event in the motor industry with great attendance. ‘Both suppliers and dealers across the UK attend, with fantastic workshops and a quality amount of time to network. ‘Last year was our first year of having a stand at CDX and it was completely worthwhile. The amount of dealers and partners we were able to catch up with and how the event was run was superb. ‘Not only was the event well-organised but the levels of quality and professionalism were second to none. A lot of exciting things have happened at Codeweavers recently – from a management buyout, to expanding the team, to a rebrand.’ Various members of Codeweavers’ business development team will be attending CDX, including sales director Shaun Harris; newly recruited national sales manager Alan Cooper; and regional sales manager for Scotland David Stevenson.

12 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

‘We attended CDX last year and found the buzz among ESTABLISHED by MD Alan Crane in 2002, Bluesky Interactive specialises in automotive web design and is now labelled one of the UK’s leading full-service automotive digital agencies. Aafter finding it so worthwhile last year, Bluesky Interactive has decided to take part again, claiming that CDX is the place to have ‘really productive conversations with the people that matter to us most – real-life dealers’. The company told us: ‘We decided to get involved in CDX for the chance to actually chat face to face with car dealers. ‘So much of our business is about understanding how dealerships work and where

we can help dealers to expand their businesses, and the only way to figure this out is to talk to people who work at dealerships day in, day out. ‘In addition, our strategy of always being flexible means that it’s great to see what suppliers are in the marketplace and how we can work together to deliver exceptional partnerships that benefit our dealers. ‘We attended CDX last year and found the buzz among dealers really exciting. ‘We had some really productive conversations with the people that matter to us most: real-life dealers – whether that was us offering advice, discussing web strategy or just getting the


CDX16 – Silverstone, Tuesday, May 24, 2016

‘CDX offers us a perfect additional opportunity to meet with existing and prospective customers’. Just some of the exhibitors who will be present at CDX16 THAT’S according to Gemini Systems, the company dedicated to the production of class-leading software to all franchised and non-franchised car dealers. We caught up with Martin Maclver, head of commercial at the Yorkshire-based DMS specialists Gemini Systems to find out more. He told us: ‘We believe CDX offers us a perfect additional opportunity to meet with existing and prospective customers in an informal and professional environment. ‘We were involved last year and found the event extremely informative and relevant, but also complementary to our own strategic objectives.’ We asked MacIver what he was hoping to gain from being a part of CDX16 and he told us: ‘We’re aiming for increased exposure within the wider automotive industry as we continue our success with year-on-year business growth. ‘We will be renewing our commitment to the event with a brand new display stand, incorporating latest product videos and presenting information about our forward plans.’

AA Cars Absolute Alignment Auto Ad Builder The Auto Group Auto Trader Autovolo Autoweb BCA BlackVue (NWX Ltd) Bluesky Interactive CarGurus Carwow CCKeys CitNOW Codeweavers Cooper Solutions DMC Canotec Rotary Lift UK Dragon2000 Drive Development Drivewise EMaC GardX Gemini Systems GForces CAP HPI Instant Feedback

iVendi JudgeService Karcher Key Tracker Manheim Motors Movex Dealer Auction Moneypenny Motor Codes OnBoard Pentana Solutions Plan Insurance Pro-Align Quid Car Ads RAC Reef Business Response IQ ScotSpeed Search Optics Smart Insurance SsangYong T4 Media Traka Automotive Trusted Dealers WMS Group

dealers really exciting’ latest industry gossip.’ The firm added: ‘We’re really looking forward to getting further insight into the dealer marketplace – things are really changing this year and we think the digital side of dealer marketing is going to transform over the next 12 months for many dealers. ‘Relationships are at the heart of our business and that depends on understanding requirements and industry trends. ‘We’ve got a few exciting websites going live between now and the event, so we’re hoping to be able to showcase some really impressive designs. ‘We’re also planning some fun-but-useful

treats to be able to hand out, so that dealers have something decent to take away with them. ‘We’re not allowed to tell you what they are yet, but suffice to say they’re different to the standard notepad, pen and stress ball!’

CarDealerMag.co.uk | 13


DASHBOARD.

Gtechniq joins forces with Reep Automotive bit.ly/gtechniq

Ask the

How the dealership will look if work resumes at the site

WITH ANDREW FERRETT

Can I repair faulty car rather than give refund?

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Work stops on new JLR showroom in Wolverhampton All machinery and personnel are said to have left the site

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ork has stopped on Jaguar Land Rover’s new £14m showroom and dealership in Wolverhampton. The new development was announced last February, but the luxury carmaker has now announced that work has come to a halt for reasons that ‘we have no control over’. All machinery and personnel have left the site, and a statement by the firm said: ‘We acknowledge that this puts at risk the 70 jobs that were being created and are aware that this will leave the gateway site to the west of the city undeveloped for the foreseeable future. ‘We also appreciate the disappointment this will cause the leaders of Wolverhampton City Council, who have

been extremely supportive of the planned development. ‘We have been informed that the former dealership operator for Jaguar Land Rover in Wolverhampton, Pendragon plc, which closed its Land Rover business in Stafford Street and Bushbury Lane with the loss of 45 jobs in 2012, has launched a High Court action to attempt to prevent the former managing director of the luxury car dealer group Stratstone, who lives near Wolverhampton, and his new company, JRB Automotive Ltd, from proceeding with the flagship city centre development on Jaguar Land Rover’s behalf.’ The dispute is believed to be listed for March, and Jaguar Land Rover says it is ‘working hard to attempt to resolve the situation’.

‘Relative stability’ for used cars JANUARY saw consumers buying used cars in large enough numbers for high supply volumes not to be much of an issue, according to the experts at CAP HPI. More than 69 per cent of dealers surveyed saw physical footfall in January increase compared to the previous month. Derren Martin, senior editor at CAP Black Book, said: ‘In 2015, the average movement through February in Black Book Live was minimal. Whilst volumes in the marketplace are higher this year, it is still likely that there will be a period of overall stability with regards to prices. 14 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

‘Newer used cars will be likely to be under more pressure in the coming months – it will be interesting to see how this impacts on older vehicles too.’ CAP says dealers are reporting high levels of nearly new vehicles, and this situation is likely to be exacerbated by December activity in pre-registrations and rental. Convertible values are expected to increase. Martin continued: ‘We are in a period of relative stability for the used car market. This is likely to last until an early Easter hits us – a period that often forms a watershed for used car values.’

’ve sold a car but the customer now says it was faulty after collection and wants a full refund. Can I just repair it? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The law changed in October last year. As part of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a customer can now demand their money back within 30 days if there was a fault on the vehicle at the time of purchase. If it’s outside the 30-day ‘right to reject’, the customer has to give you the opportunity to repair or replace the vehicle, whichever is the cheapest. If that proves unsuccessful, the buyer can claim a refund or a price reduction. If within six months of purchase, it’s up to the dealer to prove the fault wasn’t there, not up to the car buyer. If an attempt at repair or replacement fails, then the consumer can still ask for a partial refund, taking into account the time they’ve used the vehicle. But after six months, you’ve got a ‘get out of jail card’ because it’s then up to the owner to prove the vehicle was faulty. So how can you protect yourself? Our recommendation is that you put in place a robust, unbiased vehicle appraisal prior to handover. Better still, make it an independent inspection by a trusted brand such as the AA. Documentation, detailing that the vehicle has been inspected on a range of mechanical points ranging from front suspension and steering to brakes and tyres, shows you’re going the extra mile. It will improve your credibility with the would-be customer rather than them relying solely on trust. Clearly, also key to this is treating your customers fairly when dealing with post-handover complaints. It might be an idea to review your current complaints-handling procedures. Most buyers would accept that a fault can develop postsale and, hopefully, accept a repair if confident in your approach and there’s a documented paper trail. So analyse your current procedures and use a check sheet. Ensure you road-test the vehicle as part of the checks. Ensure all of your employees have a good understanding of the new rights under the Act. Show accountability with the technician’s name and company who carried out the appraisal on the check sheet. Although it may seem obvious, always rectify all identified faults and retest on a new check sheet. In summary, be prepared that the customer will turn up on your forecourt demanding a full refund. If you’ve planned well, then at least you can demonstrate their car was of ‘satisfactory quality’ and ‘fit for purpose’ when you sold it.

‘Put in place a robust, unbiased vehicle appraisal.’

Who is Andrew Ferrett?

Andrew is the national manager of AA Vehicle Inspections, working closely with dealerships of all sizes to increase their business through a portfolio of AA products.


Car retailing technology designed for today and tomorrow

www.codeweavers.net

contactus@codeweavers.net

0800CarDealerMag.co.uk 021 0888 | 15


SURVEY.

The annual survey that lets you have YOUR say on the industry We need your help to discover the manufacturers and suppliers that do their best for you – and identify those that don’t. That’s right, the Car Dealer Power Awards are back

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ith customers popping in and out of the showroom faster than you can say ‘it’s a deal’, it’s no wonder that dealers don’t get the opportunity to take off the tie or the heels and grab a five-minute tea break to have their say on the manufacturers and suppliers with whom they work. That’s why we’re here – to make your lives that little bit easier by giving you a chance to put forward your opinions in one simple Q&A survey. Over the next three pages, you’ll see lots of questions about suppliers. All we ask is that you give us your honest views. We want to know which manufacturers and suppliers are the best and how good they are at helping you out (even when the going gets tough), which parts you use, whom you go to for advice and who enhances your presence on the all-important internet. Don’t worry, you haven’t got to fill it all in by hand and post it back to us. Visiting the CarDealerPower.com website is the easiest way to complete the survey.

16 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

Once we’ve received all your answers, we’ll feed them into our Car Dealer super-computer (the brains behind the magazine) and we’ll then be able to regurgitate all the data we need to make sense of everyone’s views. By the end of the process, we’ll have an accurate idea about the manufacturers and suppliers that are at the top of their game, those who are simply average, and those who are, well, pretty pants. We’ll be sharing our findings to make sure your opinions are heard, so it’s highly likely that manufacturers and suppliers will make changes to the way they work with you based on the feedback we give them. Last year, winners included Warranty Provider of the Year WMS Group, Dealer Marketing Agency of the Year MB Advertising and Dealer Management System provider of the Year Dragon2000. Mazda took the 2015 Car of the Year title. Its top-selling supermini – the Mazda2, a rival of the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta – claimed the accolade by quite a clear margin. If you’re a supplier to the motor trade, why not contact your customers and get them to nominate you? With enough support, you could be lifting one of our prestigious gongs at our annual award night!

CAN I SAY WHAT I REALLY THINK? Absolutely. The whole idea behind the Car Dealer Power Awards is to allow the industry to be entirely forthright, whether that’s praising manufacturers and suppliers to the skies or hanging them out to dry. Have no fear, though – the survey is completely anonymous. So, we’ll be telling the suppliers and agencies what we found, but not who told us. The Car Dealer Magazine team will only assess the answers, not the envelopes, forms or IP addresses of those who enter online, and once we’ve gathered all the information we need, we’ll know who are the best of the best. What’s more, we’ll hold a glitzy awards night to celebrate their achievements, which will take place on Thursday, July 28, 2016, at the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

SO HOW DO I ENTER? Well, that’s really easy. You can fill in the form on the following pages and post it to us using our address on page three. Or, if you don’t want to rip up this gorgeously glossy magazine (we don’t want you to either), you can visit cardealerpower.com to fill in the questionnaire online. It’s simple and it’s fast. So, please spare a few minutes to complete the form – either in this magazine or online. We promise it won’t take any longer than 15 minutes – and the opinions you express could genuinely benefit all of us in the industry. We look forward to finding out what you think. Let the survey begin!


The easiest way to fill in the survey is online at CarDealerPower.com The format is designed to be simple. Please provide a mark out of 10 where shown. And remember... this is completely confidential. So don’t be shy about telling us your views! CAR MANUFACTURER 1. Which car manufacturer do you represent? If it’s more than one, please fill in the survey more than once. You can do this online at CarDealerPower.com

 Abarth  Alfa Romeo  Aston Martin  Audi  Bentley  BMW  Citroen  Chrysler  Chevrolet  DS  Ferrari  Fiat  Ford  Honda  Hyundai  Infiniti  Isuzu  Jaguar  Jeep  Kia  Land Rover  Lexus  Lotus  Mazda  Maserati  Mercedes-Benz  MG  Mini  Mitsubishi  Nissan  Peugeot  Porsche  Renault  Seat  Skoda  Smart  SsangYong  Subaru  Suzuki  Toyota  Vauxhall  Volkswagen  Volvo  Other (please name) 2. How do you rate your manufacturer with regards to its finance offers?

10 Comments: ............................................................. ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ......................................................................................

3. How do you rate the warranty your manufacturer offers? Does it cover everything it needs to and is it easy to administer?

10 Comments: ............................................................. ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... 4. How would you rate your car manufacturer on its aftersales support?

8. How good is your manufacturer with regard to the internet? Consider the support it gives your online offering, how leads are fed down to you and the quality of its website.

10 10 Comments: ............................................................. ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... 9. How do you rate the supply of new cars from your manufacturer?

10 Comments: ............................................................. ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... 5. How do you rate your car manufacturer’s marketing overall? Consider the support it offers you for advertising, the offers it comes up with and the marketing schemes it has developed.

10 Comments: ............................................................. ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... 6. How do you rate your car manufacturer’s brand awareness?

10 Comments: ............................................................. ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... 7. How accessible is your manufacturer? Can you get hold of the right people at head office? Do they listen to what you have to say?

10 Comments: ............................................................. ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... 10. How well does it manage used cars? Consider how it manages stock and its used car scheme.

10 Comments: ............................................................. ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... 11. How do you rate your manufacturer’s forward planning?

10 Comments: ............................................................. ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... 12. How do you rate the requirements your manufacturer imposes on you?

10 10 Comments: ............................................................. ...................................................................................... ....................................................................................... .....................................................................................

13. What do you think of the bonus structure put in place by your car manufacturer?

Comments: ............................................................. ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ......................................................................................

Comments: ............................................................. ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... 14. How do you rate the return on investment from your manufacturer?

10 Comments: ............................................................. ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... 15. Which car – from any manufacturer – do you think deserves the title of the Car Dealer Power Used Car of the Year? ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... 16. Which manufacturer has produced the best marketing scheme this year? ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... 17. Who is your manufacturer of the year? ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... ...................................................................................... If you represent more than one manufacturer you can fill in this survey again online by visiting CarDealerPower. com, photocopying these pages or emailing dave@blackballmedia.co.uk for a copy. All requests will be treated confidentially. Any comments you wish to make will be most welcome. These may be used in the magazine but will be attributed anonymously.

CarDealerMag.co.uk | 17


SURVEY. THE SUPPLIERS This section is about finding the best suppliers. The winners will not be decided solely by being the most popular, but by how good they are at providing you with a service. We’ll be naming a winner for each category and two highly commended places, which will be announced at the Car Dealer Power Awards ceremony on July 28. For each category, first tell us who you use, then give them a mark out of 10, and finally add any comments you have.

3. Website Design For Franchised Dealers Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 4. Website Design For Independent Dealers Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 1. Warranty Supplier Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 5. Sub-Prime Finance Supplier Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 2. Video Supplier Who do you use?.................................................................................. Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 6. Prime Finance Supplier Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

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10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 7. Motor Factor Supplier Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................

18 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 9. Online Advertising (New Cars) Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 10. Online Advertising (Used Cars) Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 11. Used Car Valuations Services Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

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Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ..................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................

ENTERING ONLINE AT

8. Trade Insurance Provider Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

CARDEALERPOWER.COM

WOULD MAKE US VERY, VERY HAPPY...

Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 12. Provenance Checks Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................


13. Cleaning Products What do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 14. Recruitment or Training Agency Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................

17. Best Trade-to-Trade Remarketing (leads for disposal of your trade cars) Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 18. Best Consumer Lead Generation (leads for people to sell cars to) Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 19. Dealer Management Product (DMS systems) Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

If you represent more than one manufacturer you can fill in this survey again online by visiting CarDealerPower.com, photocopying these pages or by emailing dave@blackballmedia.co.uk for a copy. All requests will be treated confidentially. Any comments you wish to make will be most welcome. These may be used in the magazine but will be attributed anonymously.

Please send completed surveys to: Car Dealer Magazine Haslar Marine Technology Park Haslar Road Gosport PO12 2AG

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15. Paint Protection Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 16. Physical Auctions Who do you use?................................................................................ Please provide a mark out of 10.

10 Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ......................................................................................................................

Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... 20. Product Innovation of the Year Your nomination................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................................... 21. The Extra Mile Award (The company that has gone the extra mile for you somehow this year) Your nomination................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... Comments:.............................................................................................. ...................................................................................................................... ...................................................................................................................... .......................................................................................................................

Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower – the venue for our awards ceremony on July 28

DON’T RIP UP THIS AWARD-WINNING MAGAZINE – YOU CAN ALSO FIND ALL THE QUESTIONS ONLINE AT

CARDEALERPOWER.COM CarDealerMag.co.uk | 19


DASHBOARD. ACQUISITION

Vertu buys three Honda outlets VERTU Motors has bought three Honda showrooms from Lookers in a deal said to be worth about £2m. The dealerships are in Nottingham, Derby and Stockton-on-Tees, meaning that on completion, Vertu will operate 12 Honda car and two Honda motorcycle outlets, making it Europe’s largest Honda dealer. The Nottingham and Derby sites have been owned by Lookers for several years, and their sales territories neighbour Vertu’s existing Honda outlets in Mansfield and Grantham.

OUTPUT

Manufacturing hits 10-year high BRITISH car manufacturers made more cars in 2015 than any year since 2005, according to figures released by the SMMT. Production increased 3.9 per cent on 2014, with output at 1,587,677 – overtaking pre-recession levels for the first time. A record number of cars – representing 77.3 per cent of total production – were for export, with 1,227,881 units leaving the UK.

First Infiniti Q30 customers take delivery of new cars bit.ly/Q30-96

Ford MD: We won’t damage Focus RS by chasing sales ‘As soon as you oversupply a car like this, the values tumble,’ says MD

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he new Focus RS will be resolutely sold in ‘exclusive’ numbers, according to Ford of Britain managing director, Andy Barratt, the aim being to keep residuals as strong as possible. Speaking at the launch of the new RS in Spain last month, Barratt was keen to emphasise Ford’s commitment to keeping the new model as sought-after as its two previous iterations – used examples of which often reach close to the cars’ original list prices when new. ‘I always want to keep it one [sale] short,’ said Barratt, echoing Enzo Ferrari’s famous philosophy that lives on at the supercar maker today. ‘There’s always demand for the car, and if you keep it one short, then you know what? ‘You’re doing a really great job

by JON REAY @JonReay for those owners protecting their investment.’ Despite the relatively low list price, Barratt suggested Ford won’t be tempted to chase rival models’ sales figures and oversupply the RS – the maker is aiming to cap sales at 4,000 cars over the production run, 2,000 of which have already been snapped up before buyers have even had the chance for a test drive. ‘As soon as you oversupply a car like this, the values tumble,’ said Barratt, ‘and you kind of lose 48 years of heritage – and I think that would be criminal. In the RS, and in the Ford Performance brand, I think we’ve got something that so many people envy and can’t replicate, and I don’t want to

destroy that equity to be honest.’ Meanwhile, with 2,000 sales already, delivery delays on new Mustang haven’t been enough to dissuade customers – with Barratt even communicating personally with those left waiting. ‘The cars arrived slightly later than ideally planned… but when [the customers] get it, any early launch frustrations have disappeared,’ said Barratt. ‘I’ve personally been very active on the forums with them, I’ve been talking to customers every day, I’ve been writing to them when they say ‘where’s my car?’… I’ve even offered my car out to customers. I think Mustang is the car that so many people promised themselves, and they’ve been prepared to wait for it.’ Focus RS special, p56

‘I think we’ve got something that many people envy.’ Ford of Britain MD, Andy Barratt

EXPANSION

12 dealerships join Park’s group SCOTTISH motor group Macrae and Dick has been bought by Park’s of Hamilton. This acquisition, for an unknown sum, was supported by the Bank of Scotland and will add a further 12 dealerships to the Park’s group, taking its number of franchise partners to 23. This will include new relationships with Ford, Mazda and Toyota, while increasing the representation of brands such as BMW, Jaguar and Honda. 20 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

Dealer pretended to be a private seller, court told A CAR dealer from Stratford-uponAvon has received a suspended prison sentence after selling a potentially dangerous car and pretending to be a private seller. The result follows a successful prosecution by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards. The car, a Ford Ka advertised on Facebook, was bought by a Leamington Spa resident to do the school run. After having problems with the vehicle she took it for an

MOT test, which it failed. An expert vehicle examiner from Trading Standards identified a number of problems that made the car unsafe to drive. These included faulty power steering, seized brakes, excessive corrosion to the driver’s seat mounting and failed suspension. Investigations revealed that Ian Blinkhorne, 51, of Elm Road, Stratford, had advertised 89 vehicles for sale on Gumtree since February 2013. At Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court,

Blinkhorne admitted advertising as a private seller and selling an unsafe vehicle. He received a sentence of 12 weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay £1,500 costs. Blinkhorne refunded the consumer once Trading Standards became involved in the matter. Warwickshire county councillor John Horner, portfolio holder for community safety, said: ‘There are serious consequences to selling unroadworthy vehicles.’


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DASHBOARD.

Lots to talk about: How live chat and video have become crucial to our operation DAVE BROWN joined the audience at JCT600’s annual conference in Yorkshire, and caught up with the company’s chief executive, John Tordoff

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t’s 11pm on a chilly January evening in Leeds – and John Tordoff, the chief executive of dealer group JCT600, allows himself a smile. Relaxing after his company’s fifth annual conference – the biggest and most ambitious to date – he declares himself delighted by the way the event has gone. He’s entitled to feel pleased. Around 2,000 employees of the firm have just found out first-hand exactly how well the business is performing, and learned how far the company has come since it was founded by John’s father and current chairman, Jack, in 1946 as Brooklands Garage on Sticker Lane, Bradford. To cut a long story short, in 70 years, JCT600 has grown from a single dealership into the largest privately owned business in Yorkshire. The company now has 50 dealerships representing 18 of the world’s leading car marques; its turnover last year exceeded £1.1bn for the first time – and JCT600 now employs more than 2,300 staff at its premises from Lincolnshire to Newcastle, and at the firm’s Bradford head office. Tordoff said: ‘Our annual conference is a great

22 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

opportunity to thank everyone we work with for their continued support – it is only by working closely with our trusted partners that we have been able to build such a successful company.’ The theme of the event at the Leeds Arena was ‘overcoming challenges’. Falklands war veteran, Simon Weston, was guest speaker. Tordoff added: ‘Overcoming challenges is certainly an appropriate theme – it has not been an easy journey. To have survived so long in business is an achievement in itself. ‘We attribute our success to hard work, Yorkshire thrift and a straightforward approach to doing business – we are immensely proud of the JCT600 family we have created.’ The event included a unique display of some of the most iconic vehicles of the last seven decades. Classic and vintage cars on display included a 1948 Jowett Javelin; a 1952 Bentley R-type Continental; a Volkswagen campervan from the ‘60s; a 1970s Porsche 914 Targa; an Audi Quattro ST1 from the 1980s; a Ferrari Testarossa to represent the 1990s; a Mercedes-Benz CLK from 2000; and, from the current decade, a 2015 Volkswagen XL1, a BMW i8 and an Aston Martin DB10. JCT600 also showed a 70th anniversary video featuring key milestones in the company’s development. The first vehicle sold by the company was a Jowett van priced at £175. Since then, the firm has sold more than a million vehicles, and currently sells in excess of 825 every week. As well as its sound and straightforward approach to business, it’s clear that the principle of integrity is key to the way the firm operates. During the aforementioned video, Tordoff says: ‘Without integrity, you don’t really have anything. And it’s been a cornerstone of the success of the business for all its life.

‘Sometimes you have to make some really difficult and unpopular decisions, but we make them with integrity. For example, if we write a budget, we write a budget – and that’s the budget for the year. We don’t change it half-way through the year because we’re doing particularly well and we want to penalise people. ‘If that’s the budget, we stick with it. We like to treat people fairly and because of that, I think we’re certainly valued as being very trustworthy people to work for. That’s really, really important in the modern workplace where attracting and


John Tordoff at the conference, main picture, and chatting to Dave Brown, far left. Immediate left: The past and present faces of the company

retaining high-calibre, talented people is more important than ever.’ JCT600 was recently included in The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For list, an achievement the company is incredibly proud of. Tordoff said: ‘We are well aware that what makes a company great is the people within it, and we put a lot effort into recruiting candidates with the right skills and attitude, and then into nurturing them so that they stay with us and grow their careers as we grow. In 2015 we appointed 27 new apprentices and our ‘Wired’ programme is

PICTURE: JONNY FLEETWOOD

just one of the industry-leading initiatives that we have put in place to help our people develop and feel fulfilled in their jobs.’ So with the right people in place in those 2,300 roles, could we see JCT600 expand to become an even bigger operation in the future? Over to Tordoff again. Looking back, he said: ‘The company’s progress has certainly accelerated over the last five to 10 years. ‘Not so long ago, turnover was about £400k, and it’s increased since then. ‘A lot of it has been through acquisition, a lot of

it has been through organic growth.’ He went on to explain that there were no plans to increase the size of the company’s balance sheet or geographical spread, describing the firm as ‘plenty big enough’. And there would certainly appear to be no shortage of challenges for JCT600 to tackle at its present size. For instance, Tordoff says: ‘The manufacturers have just been, for the last three or four years, absolutely relentless in terms of redevelopment and rebranding. On top of all that, you’ve got this huge CarDealerMag.co.uk | 23


DASHBOARD. pace of change in terms of technology. We launched our new website last year. That was nearly three years in the planning and we’re working on updating it already. It’s just an ongoing, never-ending redevelopment. ‘We’ve got companies involved who are always looking at things such as data-testing. It’s a Bluesky website and we work with a company in Manchester called Code. ‘It’s a bit of a triangular relationship – so it’s our website, it’s Bluesky’s platform, but there’s also this web company called Code in Manchester, who, although they have very little motor trade experience, have a lot of experience of other retail sectors. They’re doing a lot of development work on the website with regard to its design and its functionality. ‘When it comes to data testing, they’re applying things that work in other industries to our website and we’re seeing the results coming through now. ‘Everything is data tested, so it removes the need for people’s opinions to play a part in what we do. ‘For example, if I say, ‘‘I want a white web page’’ and you say ‘‘I want a black page’’ – they’ll say, fine, we’ll send 50 per cent of the traffic to a white page, 50 per cent to a black page, and we’ll see which one gets the best engagement. ‘In that way, once the results are in, you can’t argue with their findings.’ JCT600 has embraced other areas of technology too. ‘Video has come from nowhere to becoming a huge part of everybody’s life all of a sudden,’ says Tordoff. ‘It’s like live chat. A few years ago, we didn’t have any live chat. Now, we’re getting between 800 and 1,000 live chat requests a week. ‘Our live chat is open until 11pm at night now. As soon as the dealerships close at 7pm, the live

JCT600 has represented Ferrari since 1982 24 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

chat switches to the guy we employ. He comes into one of the businesses and he sits there until 11 o’clock at night, talking to people online and making appointments for the following day and the weekend. ‘We started off with live chat Monday to Friday, and then the guys at Code said, ‘‘why are you doing it on Friday and not on Sunday?’’ In their experience, there are more people online on a Sunday night than there are on a Friday night.’ Of course, for any business, the health of the balance sheet is absoutely key. But JCT600 has an impressive track record in helping those less fortunate than themselves by supporting different charities for 12-month periods. For 2016, they’re taking that approach to a whole new level by getting involved with the Prince’s Trust. ‘Yes, we’ve signed up for a four-year patronage,’ confirms Tordoff. ‘When you do something for a year, you do feel a bit promiscuous because you regularly move on to the next project. ‘We tried to come up with a way in which people would be engaged in doing something very worthwhile but not necessarily forever dipping in their purses and wallets. ‘Our patronage with the Prince’s Trust will give the people who are interested in it – and fortunately there are quite a lot – the opportunity to train to be mentors, coaches, and to invite some of the kids the Trust is working with into our business to help them. ‘For our managers, and for anyone who wants to get involved, they can develop their leadership, coaching and mentoring skills and actually go out into communities and work with some of these kids and show them that there’s a better way out there – hopefully, we might find there are a couple of good people who want to come and work in the motor industry as well.’ [CD]

MARGINAL GAINS JCT600 is borrowing an idea from British Cycling as it aims to continue its 70-year success story and improve its performance still further – ‘marginal gains’. The philosophy is a simple one. The idea comes from British Cycling, masterminded in the build-up to the Beijing Olympics by their then performance director (and now Team Sky boss), Dave Brailsford. The principle is that if you improve in every variable which affects your performance by just one per cent, then cumulatively you get a significant performance improvement or, as British Cycling puts it, an ‘aggregate of marginal gains’ Car Dealer caught up with company secretary and financial director Nigel Shaw at the company’s conference in January. He told us: ‘We were wondering what we could do in 2016 to make another leap forward. The British Cycling and Team Sky approach appealed because we can’t make any massive improvement in any one area but we can make hundreds of small improvements.’ These improvements could have a significant effect on the company’s profitability, as members of staff found out during the evening’s presentations. ‘The concept of the business is that we don’t want to be the biggest, just the best,’ Shaw told us. ‘We don’t really want to expand beyond a two-hour drive of our head office on the Leeds / Bradford border. Our furthest dealership away is in Boston, Lincolnshire, and that’s probably as far as we’d push it. We wouldn’t want to expand to London, or Devon, or Scotland, for example. ‘We like to work with good franchise partners in a nice, tight-knit area.’


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DASHBOARD. UPDATE

Cambria keeps up momentum CAMBRIA delivered a positive trading update ahead of its AGM in January. The group said it was maintaining the momentum achieved in the last financial year and that its trading performance in the first four months of the current financial year was well ahead of the corresponding period in 2014/15. New vehicle unit sales were up four per cent (like-for-like down 1.2 per cent), with gross profit per retail unit improving. Used vehicle sales also performed well. Market Insight, p79

ACQUISITION

Rebranding gets under way BENFIELD’S 30 dealerships and retail outlets across the north of England and the west of Scotland are being renamed Lookers after they were bought by the company last September. Nigel McMinn, pictured, managing director of Lookers plc, said: ‘Customers will now begin to see the first signs of the name change as the new signage and Lookers rebrand begins to take place.’

HR Owen London puts rare World Record Bugatti Veyron up for sale. bit.ly/bugatti-96

Spot the difference! But Leaf has changed under the surface Bigger-capacity battery extends the car’s range to a useful 155 miles

F

ollowing its reveal in October, Nissan’s hotly-anticipated thirdgeneration Leaf hit UK showrooms in early December, almost a month before it made its entrance into the mainland European market. The updated 30kW electric hatchback looks remarkable similar to its predecessor – so similar in fact that some people have been left wondering whether there is that much of a difference between the new car and its predecessor. Car Dealer caught up with innovation specialist at Motorline Nissan Crawley, Thérèse WynnDavies, who told us: ‘It looks exactly the same as the 24kW. I don’t know why but I sort of wanted it to be different, somehow, so when I first saw it, I was a bit disappointed.’ However, Wynn-Davies soon found out, it is the unseen additions that are really the game changers.

by LAURA THOMSON @lauramayrafiki The 30kW battery extends the car’s range by 25 per cent to 155 miles, while weighing in at only 21kg more than the previous 24kW unit. With this new power unit and the introduction of the Japanese carmaker’s popular NissanConnect infotainment system, the Leaf has been refined into an electric car that Nissan’s EV category manager, Robert Tweedie, believes could attract many more customers to the market. Since the order books opened soon after its launch, Nissan dealers UK-wide have taken 550 orders, 250 of which were pre-sale. Tweedie claims the figure – evenly distributed across the country – is a testament to the Leaf’s increasing popularity. ‘With the Leaf, we’re trying to provide an EV that’s accessible to the mass market,’ he commented. ‘So with the extension of the range,

LOSSES

November was typically tough NOVEMBER is notorious for being a tough month for UK motor retail performance and this was truer than ever in 2015, with the average retailer losing £10,800 that month. According to ASE, new car sales in November were down by one per cent on 2014’s figures. Overall new car sales for the 11 months to November were marginally behind the total for the previous year, in comparison with November’s 6.2 per cent rise in registrations. 26 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

The latest version of Nissan’s Leaf

the Leaf can easily meet the daily requirements of any driver, because the average customer is only doing 25 miles a day.’ As would be expected, since the introduction of the larger battery, sales of the previous-generation model have declined. ‘We always anticipated that the sales mix would be somewhere in the region of 80 per cent 30kW guise, and 20 per cent 24kW, and the order take that we’ve seen up to this point in time has pretty much been in line with that,’ said Tweedie, adding that Nissan has no plans to phase out the 24kW model. For Wynn-Davies, whose Motorline dealership last year sold 45 24kW Leafs, there is definitely still a demand for the lower-powered car. Potential buyers could include fleet customers or those who would opt for a lower-spec model, which the 30kW version is not available in. ‘I hope that we continue to have a range of batteries, and each new battery incentivises more interest into the market, but hopefully if Nissan brought out a 50 or a 60kW battery that then people would still be interested in purchasing the 30 or the 24kW guise once we’ve spoken to them,’ she added. ‘Often people come in wanting to buy a 1.6 engine because that’s all they’ve ever had. ‘But when you look into it, you realise that a 1.2 would suit them better. So it’s about qualifying a customer and making sure that their needs are met. So hopefully, the 24kW will stick around.’

RAC’s new passport provides used car history checks THERE’S a new kid on the block when it comes to used car history checks – the RAC Car Passport for dealers was launched on February 18. The new product matches the features offered by established players in the sector but is cheaper and offers the customer the recognition and credibility of the RAC brand. A special offer will see RAC Car

Passport priced to dealers at £1 until the end of March and after that, a simple and transparent pricing structure will take effect, which is designed to undercut the competition. Key features include customerfacing, downloadable RAC Car Passport documentation designed to maximise the credibility of the check, £10,000 of insurance that

can be increased to up to £50,000 to protect higher-value vehicles, and a mileage-adjusted valuation that can be upgraded to a Glass’s valuation for an additional cost. Robert Diamond, managing director of motoring services at the RAC, said: ‘An RAC Car Passport check has a genuine value to the consumer as part of the car sale, we believe.’


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DASHBOARD.

Aston Martin gets ready to celebrate Bristol dealership Staff will be keen to exceed expectations of new and existing customers

A

ston Martin will celebrate the opening of a brand new dealership this summer when Aston Martin Bristol opens its doors to customers. The new dealership – located in Cribbs Causeway, close to junction 17 of the M5 motorway – is the first Aston Martin dealership for the Dick Lovett Group. Aston Martin Bristol will cover the entire south-west of the UK, offering new and used Aston Martins for sale, along with a full service centre, creating more than 20 new jobs. The new 27,000 sq ft showroom will offer the full range of sports cars and customers will have the opportunity to activate ‘Q by Aston Martin’ on all new purchases to

create a unique configuration. Marcus Blake, general manager, UK and South Africa, said: ‘2016 is going to be an exciting year for Aston Martin and we are delighted to be working alongside the Dick Lovett Group, in opening a new state-of-theart facility in Bristol this summer. ‘We are confident the Aston Martin Bristol team will provide our

valued customers in Bristol and the south-west region an exceptional service that will meet all their needs and exceed their expectations.’ Lynn Campbell, managing director of the Dick Lovett Group, added: ‘We are delighted to be working alongside Aston Martin, an iconic marque. ‘The opening of our new state-of-the-art facility this summer, in our 50th year, will make 2016 even more special. The facility has been uniquely designed, nestled into Laurel Hill, and reflects Aston Martin’s core design philosophy and craftsmanship. ‘We are dedicated to providing new and existing Aston Martin owners with service which surpasses their expectations.’

RESULTS

New survey on NOx emissions A STUDY carried out by the consumer organisation Which? has revealed that a large number of cars are breaking official emissions limits, when driving in realworld conditions. The study was conducted in the wake of last September’s Volkswagen ‘defeat device’ scandal. Which? looked at data collected from more than 300 cars over the last four years, and found some 95 per cent of diesel cars and 10 per cent of petrol vehicles were emitting nitrogen oxides (NOx) at above the acceptable level. Two-thirds of the petrol cars tested were found to break the limit on the levels of carbon monoxide emissions. Of the 153 diesel cars tested, Which? said the Jeep Grand Cherokee was the worst performer, emitting 15 times the permitted amount of NOx.

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28 | CarDealerMag.co.uk


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30 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

WIGAN: Arnold Clark Automobiles, Europe’s largest independent car dealer, has opened a new Motorstore branch in Wigan. The branch has 250 new and used cars on display, with access to more than 15,000 vehicles on the Arnold Clark database. There is also a dedicated servicing and repairs department, valeting area, wi-fi access and a team of expert staff on hand to help customers. Brian Webster, Arnold Clark Motorstore franchise manager, said: ‘Motorstore has proved to be a tremendous brand for Arnold Clark, and it’s always exciting to welcome a new branch to the Arnold Clark family.’

A new member of the Arnold Clark family

What has been hitting the headlines on the home front? Here’s a round-up of stories

YORKSHIRE: JCT600 has handed over its first BMW i3. It took place at the family-owned firm’s BMW dealership in Bradford, with BMW i specialist Billie-Jo Hicks presenting the keys to the car’s new owners, Mr and Mrs Cook, who said they were thrilled with the premium vehicle. Hicks said: ‘I’m absolutely delighted that we have had our first ever handover of the BMW i3. It is a fantastic car and we wish Mr and Mrs Cook many happy miles in it.’ The BMW i3 is part of a new breed of premium electric-powered cars from the high-end brand.

Many happy miles ahead in new i3!

GATESHEAD: A Nissan salesman who thought up a bedtime story for his daughter has seen his tale turned into a book. Barry O’Neill, fleet sales executive at Benfield Nissan in Gateshead, came up with the story to entertain Katie, now eight, before bed. Having separated from Katie’s mother, O’Neill said the most valuable time with his daughter was Saturday nights, which he would spend making up stories. The published story is about a man called Bill who wakes up one morning to find he has a backside for a head!

Bumhead Bill is a big hit for Barry!

ABERDEENSHIRE: Criminals severely damaged a £20,000 Mitsubishi Evo parked at a car dealership in Aberdeenshire. The yobs used a crowbar to try to steal the Evo 10, parked at Jim Reid Vehicle Sales based on the outskirts of Kintore. Company boss Reid told us: ‘They obviously tried to steal the vehicle and attempted to get under the bonnet without opening the car – that’s why the bonnet is all curled up at the edges.’ A Police Scotland spokesman told the Evening Express newspaper: ‘We are aware of the incident and investigations will be carried out.’

Theft attempt fails – but £20k Evo is left badly damaged

News from around the UK DASHBOARD.


CarDealerMag.co.uk | 31

Cambria acquires Land Rover franchise HERTS: One of the UK’s leading motor retailers, Cambria, has bought the Land Rover franchise in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, from Jardine Motors Group. Bought for £10.8 million, the dealership is approximately two miles from the group’s Jaguar and Aston Martin franchises on Great North Road. The group now operates three Land Rover dealerships under the Grange trading name. The acquired dealerships’ management accounts for the year ended December 31 show unaudited revenue of £54 million. Cambria estimates the profit before tax for the same period was £2.5 million.

Excitement as another dealer joins MG PLYMOUTH: SMC Plymouth is the latest, and sixth, MG dealer in the south-west, to join the manufacturer’s dealer network. SMC Group is a family-owned business that has been around since the early 1990s. In 2004, the company took over a property in Plymouth and used it to operate the SEAT franchise. Nick Mitchell, dealer principal, has been hoping to put MG in the SMC showroom for a while now, so the staff are all excited to see the cars arrive. Nick said: ‘We think MG, as a brand, has great values and real familiarity with it, so we can’t wait to get the cars and show them off.’

WORCESTER: A new Mitsubishi dealership has opened in Worcester as the brand continues to expand in the UK. Mitsubishi Motors in the UK was the fastest-growing mainstream car brand in 2013, 2014 and 2015, according to SMMT statistics, and Startin Mitsubishi is one of 12 new Mitsubishi dealerships to open in the past 12 months. The dealership, part of the family-owned Startin Group, will be run from a temporary showroom at the company’s Bowling Green Garage in Powick before moving into a newly renovated showroom on the same site later in the year.

NOTTINGHAM: Motorpoint has helped raise £21,000 for the John van Geest Cancer Research Centre. The car supermarket supported the Nottingham-based centre as part of its main sponsorship of the annual Angel Charity Ball late last year together with Alea Casinos, Big Table PR, Keith Willis Associates and the Walton Hotel. Built in 2010, John van Geest Cancer Research Centre is a purpose-built scientific facility at the Nottingham Trent University Clifton campus dedicated to improving the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

More than £20,000 raised for cancer research

Startin a new era with fast-growing brand

SOLIHULL: The last Land Rover Defender has rolled off the production line at Solihull. Since production of the original Land Rover Series began in 1948 at the midlands plant, more than two million Defenders have been built and exported across the world. With stricter measures for new car emissions set to be introduced by 2020, it became highly unlikely that the famous Defender would be able to meet the regulations. Therefore, Jaguar Land Rover had no choice but to discontinue the trusty off-road warrior. Simon Collins, Warwickshire and West Midlands Land Rover Club secretary, told the BBC: ‘It’s the death of an icon.’

Death of an icon as final Defender is made

BIRMINGHAM: Vantage Toyota Birmingham has partnered with Sutton Coldfield-based junior football club, Strikes FC, by donating funds to supply the team with new kits. The dealership, which is based at The Fort and is part of one of the UK’s fastest growing Toyota dealer networks, has donated £500 which has been used to purchase Vantage-branded shirts and shorts for the Under-9s team. The partnership came about through Vantage Toyota Birmingham employee Sally Adams, who approached Strikes FC as part of Vantage’s goal of supporting local community groups.

Young players strike it lucky with Vantage!


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DASHBOARD.

Around the world Dealer news from somewhere other than here

BELGIUM

BRITISH sports car manufacturer Caterham Cars has strengthened its presence in Belgium with the launch of the House of Speed showroom in Liege. The new outlet sees existing Belgian dealer Villers Auto join forces with Redwater Classic Cars at the 500 square metre site. The dealership will showcase the full European range, including the Seven 165, the Seven 275, the Seven 355 and the top-of-the-range Seven 485.

AMERICA

FIAT Chrysler Automobiles has described accusations that it has inflated car sales figures in America as ‘baseless’. The manufacturer issued a statement after learning of the filing of a lawsuit in an Illinois federal court by two dealers. The lawsuit makes allegations of false sales reporting by the American arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

NIGERIA

OWERS of exotic cars are putting their vehicles up for sale in increasing numbers, particularly in the capital Abuja. Ehiremhem Patrick is just one dealer who has noticed a drastic slowdown in the levels of trade. ‘People are returning their vehicles in order to raise funds. The fact is, there is no money in the country,’ he told the ‘Punch’ news website.

AUSTRALIA

A record number of Australians got behind the wheel of a new car last year. Nationwide, 1,155,408 new vehicles were sold during 2015, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries’ annual report. The previous record was set in 2013 with 1,136,227 sales. The bestselling car was the Toyota Corolla. The Toyota Hilux 4x4 was second, followed by the Hyundai i30.

QATAR

Among the many recipients of honours in the Queen’s New Year list at the start of 2016 was a second-hand car dealer living in Doha. Tony Porter, originally from Aldridge in the West Midlands, was awarded a British Empire Medal in recognition of ‘services to the British community in Qatar’, reported the Daily Telegraph. The 57-year-old moved there in 1993.

CarDealerMag.co.uk | 33


FINANCE.

SsangYong expands PCP scheme ready for March 1 Many more of our cars will be sporting new registration plate, says MD

S

sangYong has announced an expanded PCP programme on selected Tivoli petrol and Korando diesel models, ahead of the arrival of the new 16 registration on March 1. The SsangYong Tivoli B-segment SUV is available from SsangYong dealers with prices starting from just £12,950, while the new Giugiaro designed Korando 2.2 crossover is priced from just £15,995. Commenting on these new PCPs, Paul Williams, CEO of SsangYong Motor UK, said: ‘Sales of SsangYong cars increased considerably last year – in fact it was the second fastest growing franchise in the UK, and the Tivoli and Korando did especially well. Both are well-built

and comprehensively equipped, and at a price and warranty level no other brand can match. With these new PCPs from just £199 a month, we are confident many more SsangYong cars will be sporting a new registration plate this year.’ The Tivoli SE starts from just £12,950, and is powered by a 1.6 litre Euro 6 engine with manual transmission. Finished in a grey cloth trim, it includes 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, a stop/go system, Smart steering (normal, comfort and sport modes), an RDS/Bluetooth radio and seven airbags. The EX adds the option of automatic transmission on the petrolpowered car, grey or beige leather upholstery, 18-inch alloy Spiral wheels, dual-zone climate control, sven-inch touch screen smart audio system with rear view camera, heated front seats, front fog lights and a luggage load cover. The top-ofthe-range ELX is available with the

choice of manual and automatic transmission, and features Diamond cut alloy wheels, a smart instrument cluster, smart keyless starting, front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass, rear spoiler, automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, full TomTom navigation system with seven-inch touch-screen and rear view camera. Designed by the Italian styling house, Giugiaro, the new 2016 Korando SE 2.2 starts from just £15,995 with two-wheel drive (or £17,495 with four-wheel drive), and is powered by the new 2.2 litre Euro 6 diesel engine with manual transmission. With its two-tonne towing capacity making it especially well-suited to caravanners, the Korando represents superb value and is well equipped. The SE comes with smart cloth trim, electric windows, air conditioning, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, an RDS/Bluetooth radio and six airbags. The PCP programme, which is being administered by SsangYong’s finance provider GMAC, offers purchasers realistic deposits and highly competitive monthly payments.

Why using an old internet browser is not a good idea DEALERS should be moving quickly to the latest versions of internet browsers, says iVendi, or they could face security issues. Microsoft has withdrawn support for versions 8, 9 and 10 of the widelyused Internet Explorer, and will stop issuing security updates. James Tew, CEO at iVendi, said: ‘We often come across dealers who are using older versions of browsers and it is bad practice in a number of ways.

34 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

‘The most important is security. When updates are no longer made available, as with these older versions of IE, it leaves the door open for malicious attacks that could affect both dealers and their customers. ‘However, at a time when online technology is changing quite rapidly, it also inhibits the user experience.’ Tew said that iVendi would continue to support dealers using IE 9 and 10 for the next few months but

had already withdrawn support for version 8. ‘Our new-generation iVendi Platform, being launched this month, will work in IE 9,10 and 11 but moving forward, new features won’t be supported. ‘As a result, we are helping some dealers update and it is a relatively pain-free process unless you are using really old PCs or you have some kind of unusual legacy system issue.’

SURVEY

The message is clear: car buyers love technology! INTEGRATED technology is becoming increasingly important for UK car buyers when selecting a new vehicle, according to a survey of the UK’s largest motor finance brokers carried out by Paragon Car Finance. Asked to select the most popular ‘extras’ for car buyers based on finance applications processed over the last 12 months, motor finance brokers opted overwhelmingly for integrated technology extras compared with more traditional features. On-board satellite navigation systems came top, selected by more than three quarters of brokers (76 per cent) as one of the most popular extras chosen by buyers. Bluetooth connectivity enabling hands-free telephone contact came second, highlighted by 67 per cent of brokers. Parking cameras also scored highly, mentioned by almost half of survey respondents (48 per cent). In contrast, more traditional physical extras like leather seats, metallic paint finish and LED running lights, were selected by only 35, 22 and four per cent of respondents respectively. Julian Rance, head of Paragon Car Finance, said: ‘The message is clear for dealers looking to satisfy discerning buyers in 2016 – technology has the edge.’


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We’re not quite as quick as Usain – but we’re getting there! D

id you know that sunlight takes about eight minutes and 17 seconds to travel the average distance from the surface of the Sun to the Earth? Did you know that Usain Bolt was clocked running at 28mph? That means he could soon be breaking our speed limits if he goes out running on our roads; now that’s fast. The reason I’m talking about speed is that we all want quick and efficient service, whether we are at a restaurant waiting for our meal or ordering a taxi to get to an important meeting. We all want things here and now, we live mainly in the

Ben

Garside

‘I remember when TIME IS we paid by BACS and MONEY dealers didn’t see their money for at least three days’ present and almost everything is about convenience and speed. Look at the growth within the fast food restaurant market; people flock to them. It’s the same with coffee shops; even they have found that drive-through sites are the way forward. Amazon are looking at delivering books within 30 minutes via drones – I still remember the bus journey to the city centre to look for a book, then order it, wait a few weeks for a phone call, then go back into the city centre to pick up my new book. It was the same with CDs and videos, but nowadays we download a new album on MP3 and play it within minutes, and for videos we just click the Netflix app and

up pops a list of the latest films for us to choose from. Over the last three to four years at First Response, we’ve been working on efficiency gains, mainly in processing finance applications. But more recently, after assessing our dealer service levels, we are now working on how we can improve the service we can offer to you specifically. We know that we have a lot of work to do to and, as a sub-prime lender, you may expect us to take a little longer than a prime finance company due to the additional checks involved. However, more recently, a dealer had been paid their advance into their bank account within two hours of proposing the application. I then investigated further and found that we had recently paid a few dealers in well under an hour from receiving their application. While I know that this not yet the norm and I wouldn’t

Turn over page for more finance stories expect it on every deal, it’s a great improvement in the sub-prime market. I remember in the past when an average sub-prime deal could take between five and10 working days. One of the biggest reasons for our improvement in speed has been the implementation of faster payments. This instant payment service means that when we say that we’ve paid you, your bank account will have the advance showing within minutes. Some banks do have a lag but at worst it’s on the same day. Again, I remember when we paid by BACS and dealers didn’t see their money for at least three days. I’m glad those days have gone. Maybe Usain Bolt will break to 30mph barrier soon and in the same breath, maybe we will pay your advance within minutes today!

Who is Ben Garside? Ben is marketing manager for First Response Finance. Call him on 07817 518739 or email ben.garside@frfl.co.uk

CarDealerMag.co.uk | 35


DEALFINDER.

FINANCE. YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO... SUVs HONDA CR-V

NISSAN QASHQAI NISSAN has manufactured its award-winning Qashqai since 2007 and, now in its second generation, it’s as popular as ever. The carmaker is currently offering its Acenta DIG-T 115 manual 2WD Qashqai on a 37-month, 4.99 per cent interest and APR finance plan. A Nissan deposit contribution of £1,500 kicks off the plan, adding to the £5,025.96 deposit required from the customer. This is followed by 36 monthly payments of £159. At the end of the contract, if the driver wishes to purchase their Qashqai outright, a final payment of £9,633.75 is required. Over the three years, a total of £21,883.71 would have been paid for the vehicle, £1,500 of which is the Nissan contribution. Therefore, the customer will have paid £20,383.71, only £253.71 more than the vehicle’s cash price of £20,130.00.

THE priciest of our trio, the Honda CR-V, is spacious and capable and has long been the reserve of luxury SUV drivers. For those looking to get their hands on the CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC SE 2WD, Honda is offering it on a three-year, 5.9 per cent APR finance deal. A customer deposit of £4,065.45 is bolstered by a Honda contribution of £3,500, taking the total deposit to £7,565.45. Thirtysix monthly payments of £249 follow, which add up to £8,964. If the customer wishes to purchase the vehicle outright rather than return it to the dealer, a final payment of £12,279.92 is asked for, alongside a £10 option-to-purchase fee. At the end of the finance term, a total of £28,819.42 – £2,759.42 more than the OTR price of £26,060 – would have been paid for the vehicle. However, £3,500 of this is made up of the dealer deposit contribution.

Aggressive high street loan rates pose a threat to dealers’ profitability ‘Whether it’s a blip or the start of a trend remains to be seen’

D

ealers are facing a new threat to profit margins as exclusive research reveals the impact on specialist car finance take-up of aggressively low High Street personal loan rates. The warning comes from new and used car online distance sales specialist Buyacar.co.uk, which generates consumer sales orders for major franchise dealers. Buyacar.co.uk has identified a marked slowdown in the take-up of specialist motor finance, despite a month-on-month rise in unit sales from its platform for both new and used cars. Research among Buyacar.co.uk’s recent cash transaction customers reveals an increase of up to 50 per cent in the number of buyers taking advantage of High Street loans offering APRs as low as 3.3 per cent.

36 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

by DAVE BROWN @CarDealerDave These figures for specialist finance take-up among Buyacar.co.uk’s consumer customers may signal tougher times ahead for those who rely most heavily on F&I to sustain their unit profitability. Interviews with consumers paying cash to buy cars from dealers via the Buyacar.co.uk platform also confirms the suspected correlation between recently-launched High Street unsecured finance products and a reduction in customers opting for specialist finance. As an online business, Buyacar.co.uk believes the scale and immediacy of its consumer intelligence makes it highly attuned to seeing trends emerge even before they are revealed

in the bricks and mortar market. Austin Collins, above, co-founder and managing director of Buyacar.co.uk, said: ‘Whether our initial research findings among customers opting to take unsecured High Street loans proves to be a blip or the beginning of a trend remains to be seen. ‘But during January we saw cash transactions rise by 50 per cent, jumping to almost a third of all purchases compared with a more typical proportion of around 20 per cent. Anecdotal evidence does suggest that the new breed of cheap High Street loan products do account for a high proportion of the increase in cash purchases we have seen in recent weeks. ‘If this were to turn into a trend it would mean aggressive new High Street loan interest rates pose a fresh risk to the unit profitability of physical and online motor retailers alike.’


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Looking for a Non-prime finance company with a difference?

MITSUBISHI ASX THE ASX is Mitsubishi’s rugged compact crossover, which boasts a spacious cabin, an easy ride and a strong, efficient powertrain. The Japanese carmaker is currently offering its ASX ZC-M on a 43-month, 5.9 per cent APR finance deal. Drivers wishing to purchase the five-door, 1.6 litre manual diesel must first put down a deposit of £4,694, to which a further £1,000 is added by the dealer. Forty-two monthly payments of £200 follow, after which the customer is offered the chance to purchase the vehicle outright or return it to the dealership. Should they go for the former option, the customer is required to pay a final payment of £7,700, which includes a purchase fee of £10. In total, they would have paid £20,794 – only £,1240 more than the on-the-road price of £19,554.

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‘Growth in new business in November reflects increasing confidence’

Insurance in the motor industry needs to ‘get real’

NEW and used car consumer finance is on the up, according to the latest figures from the Finance & Leasing Association. The FLA says the point-of-sale new car finance market saw a 17 per cent increase in new business growth by volume and 24 per cent by value in November 2015, compared with the same month in the previous year. The percentage of private new car sales financed by FLA members through dealerships reached 80.9 per cent in the 12 months to November – up from 80.1 per cent in the 12 months to October. Meanwhile, the point-of-sale consumer used car finance market also saw strong growth in November, with new business up 18 per cent by volume and 22 per cent by value. Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: ‘The growth in new business in November reflects the continuing strength of consumer confidence. ‘The point-of-sale consumer car finance market is likely to report growth in new business volumes for 2015 as a whole of nine per cent, in line with expectations.’

M

Y

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MY

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CMY INSURANCE in the motor industry needs to ‘get real’ – that’s the K message from Mark Boote, MD of Smart Insurance. ‘Over the last few years we’ve seen new, young dealer principals coming in and successfully beginning to change the tone of the motor business. It’s working. The Arthur Daley image is rapidly going and the change is mutually beneficial to all involved. ‘It’s happening for insurance, but not fast enough. ‘The insurance sector must follow the lead of the car business. Drop the old ways and embrace the consumer, especially with claims. Our approach at Smart is to welcome claims. And easy claims via smartphone apps and online must link with fast assessments and rapid payments. ‘At Smart we already do this and are trying to change the image of insurance.’

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CarDealerMag.co.uk | 37


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38 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

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BIG MIKE.

All Big Mike’s columns are on our website. Enjoy them here bit.ly/bigmike

An arduous round trip completed in time – just one problem... I

had to drive over the Dartford Crossing the other week, which to many of you won’t sound like a major drama. But to someone who grew up north of Watford and who only ventures south on rare occasions (being a Birmingham City fan, the last time was the League Cup final in 2011), it’s always a bit of an undertaking. I, like most people, hate traffic. Indeed, I despise it to the extent that if ever I’m stuck in it, I get anxiety attacks and am generally unpleasant to be around, which is another of the reasons I tend to avoid driving in the south-east. But I digress. By doing away with the toll gates, not only have the government found a way of fining unsuspecting motorists who struggle with the internet (not everyone’s there yet, you know) but on the plus side, they’ve made the traffic move at an almost bearable rate. It was a million times better last week than it was on most of my previous trips through there, which have usually culminated in a last-minute dash for a cross-channel ferry at speeds that, I’m sure, are not entirely allowed on the M20… Most of all, though, last week’s crossing brought back a memory from a couple of decades ago, which still makes me chuckle even today. I’d done a deal on an old Jaguar. Regular readers of this column will know that old Jags are a particular weakness of mine, and this example, a Series 3 XJ6, was one that belonged to a friend of a friend, who was a fellow car trader, so I knew it was in pukka condition. I could have it for a bargain price, too, as the trader in question specialised mostly in small cars. The only downside was that it was in Paddock Wood, and the only route to that part of Kent from the north required a ride over the bridge. And so it was that I left my car-cleaning boy in charge of the lot one Friday, and set off down south in a recently part-exchanged Land Rover, with my trusty car trailer hitched to the back. It was all going swimmingly, too, right up until I hit Dartford, which is where I spent the next four hours of my life. I can tell you for nothing that sitting on the approach to the Dartford Bridge in a Series 3 Land Rover, with a manual gearbox, no power steering and a crap heater is not the best way to spend a chilly March morning. What’s more, I couldn’t tell the seller I was running late because mobile phones had yet to be properly invented. When I finally arrived, frustrated, exhausted and somewhat knackered from piloting the ancient Land Rover through heavy traffic, I was over three hours late.

Big Mike OUR MAN ON THE INSIDE SPILLS THE BEANS ON THE CAR BUSINESS...

The delay, annoyingly, was a broken-down horsebox blocking one lane on the bridge (why not just ride the bloody things?), which, combined with Friday traffic and manual toll booths, conspired to make the experience hellish. Anyway, the good news was that the gates were open and the Jaguar was still there. I approached a young lad who was the only person I could find in the yard. ‘Steve’s had to go home,’ he told me. ‘But he said if you turn up, then you could pop round to his house with the cash and pick up the paperwork.’ Of course, I, too, was running late, and the missus and I had theatre tickets for that evening, so I was under pressure to get back to Birmingham ASAP, so I slipped the young lad a fiver and left my trailer with him to load up the Jag while I drove up the road to pay his boss the readies. It was mid-

‘I was aware that the traffic on the M25 would be building up’ afternoon by this point and I was acutely aware that the traffic on the M25 would be building up. Steve, the trader, turned out to be a smashing fella, and over a cup of tea we wittered on about all sorts, despite the fact I was up against the clock. With the paperwork duly completed, I checked my watch and realised it was almost 4pm, leaving me with just over three hours to get back up to Brum. It was going to be tight. Luckily, it wasn’t as bad a run on the way back – not bad for a Friday night. And while the Series 3 Land Rover wasn’t the quickest thing up the motorway, the traffic was light enough for me to make it back home with half an hour to spare. Just enough time to uncouple the trailer and freshen up ready for date night. Or so I thought – and then I realised the error of my ways. In my haste to get back in time, there was one simple thing I’d forgotten to do. There was, alas, no trailer to uncouple, as it was still sitting in a yard in Kent with a Series 3 XJ6 on the back… I did go back for it, a week later, having sunk half my margin into an extra tank of petrol, and boy did Steve rip the proverbial out of me. But I’m glad in a sense, as we’ve been really good mates ever since!

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


FORECOURT. INSIDE

CONNECTIVITY

The dash is thoughtfully laid out and easy to function

XC90 is a wifi hotspot, keeping you connectd on the road

ENGINE

Volvo XC90 T8

Flashy seven-seat SUVs appear to be the latest industry trend. Can Volvo keep ahead of the game? Sophie finds out WHAT IS IT? This is the range-topping variant of Volvo’s highly-rated XC90 – the T8 ‘Twin Engine’ plug-in hybrid. Essentially, this is still the same big friendly giant that stole our hearts in 2015 – based on the same trusty platform as the sturdy D5 diesel and pokey T6 petrol – only the T8 is crammed with a wealth of extra gadgets as standard and has an even smaller carbon footprint – but only when it’s running solely on electric charge.

WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET? Lift the hood and you’ll find the same 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine that powers the other XC90s in the range, only this one is a little more special. The petrol unit in question is both supercharged and turbocharged to ensure maximum response at both low and high revs. This 320bhp powerplant is also linked to an 87bhp electric motor, which drives the rear wheels and 40 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

bumps the total power output up to 407bhp and 640Nm of torque. It’s powered by batteries, which can be charged by plugging the car into the mains and offers a pure-electric driving range of 27 miles.

WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE? Bold yet brilliant. Once again the XC90 is available in three trim levels: the entry-level Momentum, the mid-range R-Design and range-topping Inscription. The XC90’s clever HMI (Human Machine Interface) infotainment system is a class-leader in terms of in-car technology and userfriendly controls, with the dash thoughtfully laid out.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? Impressive. Once again, the Swedish carmaker has hit the nail on the head with XC90. It’s seamlessly smooth, refined and pokey, too. As standard, the T8 is

equipped with six driving modes. This means it can run solely on the electric motor, the driver can choose to store the battery charge for later, or they can leave it to do the hard work for them by leaving it on the default hybrid setting. In truth, the XC90 doesn’t feel like a 400bhp car that can hit 62mph in 5.6 seconds – But it weighs 2343kg.

WHAT DO THE PRESS THINK?

The T8 is linked to a rearmounted 87bhp elecric motor

THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Volvo XC90 Twin Engine Price: £55,455 (£5k gov grant) Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder Power: 407bhp/640Nm Max speed: 140mph 0-60mph: 5.6 seconds MPG (comb’d): 134.5mpg Emissions: 49g/km

TARGET BUYERS: Families on the go with a need for extra space and plenty of modern gadgets to keep the kids happy.

According to Auto Express, the XC90 T8 is a ‘technological showcase for Volvo, and the way it drives hasn’t been compromised at all’.

THE RIVALS:

WHAT DO WE THINK?

1. 27 miles of electric range 2. Class-leading build quality 3. A total power output of 407bhp

Volvo has hit the sweet spot with the T8. Its clever layout means the additional electric motor hasn’t compromised interior space. The XC90 is arguably the most convenient and technologically advanced car on the market, but it isn’t cheap at £60k.

The Mitsubishi PHEV, BMW X5 xDrive40e and Audi Q7 e-tron

KEY SELLING POINTS:

DEAL CLINCHER: Despite an additional electric motor, the XC90 T8 retains its seven seats – unlike its rivals.


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www.turntablepro.co.uk CarDealerMag.co.uk | 41


FORECOURT. TECHNOLOGY

DESIGN

All models except entry-level Active get Toyota Safety Sense

LED running lights as standard brighten up the front end

SUSPENSION

Toyota RAV4

The RAV4 has been given a makeover, but can it compete against its rivals? Jack Evans went to Spain to find out. WHAT IS IT? The RAV4 is a well-established household name, generating thoughts of reliability and decent road handling with every mention. This latest version hopes to add to that, completing the package with improved economy and higher levels of equipment. The new electric powertrain is a big step forward too, with Toyota now not offering any four-wheel-drive diesel option, in favour of the hybrid setup.

an impressive figure of 118g/ km CO2 and a claimed combined consumption figure of 55.4mpg.

WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE?

Toyota has made a valiant attempt to increase the quality of the materials in the cabin, and for the most part it has succeeded. Yes, in places there are slips – the plastic on the top of the dash is chocolate-box scratchy – but it’s not such a bad place to sit. It’s worth mentioning that the only specifications to get satellite WHAT’S UNDER THE navigation as standard are the BONNET? Business Edition and Business The hybrid utilises a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine linked Edition Plus models. For all other to an electric motor. In four-wheel- models, that’s going to be an extra. drive models, this means there’s WHAT’S IT LIKE TO a small electric motor at both the DRIVE? front and rear axles. The hybrid Around town the hybrid set-up system produces 194bhp and is a dream. Quiet and refined, it 270Nm of torque, powering the works a treat. Add a bit of speed, RAV4 to 62mpg in 8.4 seconds. however, and you’ll be rewarded Being a hybrid, emissions figures with a drone that’ll remind you of are low with the RAV4 returning 42 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

your vacuum cleaner. The noise is also accompanied by no discernible increase in pace – despite Toyota claiming that they have ‘engineered’ gears into the CVT gearbox. Wind noise from the wing mirrors is noticeable, too – and in a hybrid vehicle this is even more of an unwelcome intrusion.

WHAT DO THE PRESS THINK? Auto Express said: ‘The updated Toyota RAV4 is better looking than ever before, and now features a tax-busting hybrid powertrain that will really appeal to company car buyers.’

WHAT DO WE THINK? It’s easy to see why, on paper, the RAV4 Hybrid is a good choice. However, behind the wheel it’s a different story. Unfortunately, the racket on acceleration is a little too much to ignore and its roly-poly cornering style could get a little annoying after a while.

Surprisingly supple over bumps, leans a little too much

THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Toyota RAV4 Hybird Price: £29,995 Engine: 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle Power: 195bhp / 270Nm Max speed: 112mph 0-60mph: 8.2seconds MPG (comb’d): 55.4pmg Emissions: 118g/km

TARGET BUYERS: Business owners who want to reduce tax bills and city drivers looking for a more relaxing around-town drive.

THE RIVALS: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Mazda CX-5 and BMW X1

KEY SELLING POINTS: 1. Low running costs and emission figures 2. A quiet and relaxing drive 3. Good-looking on the outside

DEAL CLINCHER: The RAV4 offers a great entry into the world of low-emissions and low tax motoring.


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0333 003 0609 CarDealerMag.co.uk | 43


FORECOURT. VISIBILITY

THE DRIVE

Good throughout, with slimmer pillars making blind spots smaller

Steering is accurate and body weight is disguised through the corners

WHEELS

Kia Sportage

Offered in 16, 17 and 19-inch, the best of the lot is the middle size alloys

Jack Evans heads to Nice to try out the latest version of the popular SUV. With a more grown-up drive, has it lost its charm? WHAT IS IT? The Sportage is a big car for Kia. Now in its fourth generation, the popular SUV is looking to reach even higher than before, adding extra equipment and a more grown-up drive to an already potent mix of value for money and reliability. Offered in both two wheel and four-wheeldrive, the Sportage has been Kia’s best-selling car in the UK, and the carmaker will be looking to keep it this way.

WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET? There’s four engines to choose from, so drivers are given plenty of options from the off. We drove the 1.7-litre turbocharged diesel, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Kia says that this engine accounted for half of previous Sportage buyers – and we think it’ll be no different for this car. Though there’s a larger 2.0-litre unit – along with an automatic gearbox – the 1.7 seems the sweetest of the bunch. It offers 114bhp and 44 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

280Nm of torque, which is more than enough for the average user. With a combined consumption figure of 61.4mpg, as well as an emissions reading of just 119g/km CO2, it’s very efficient, but doesn’t feel breathy or short on power.

WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE? Actually, it’s pretty good. Even baselevel ‘1’ trim brings with it 16-inch alloy wheels, LED running lamps and seven-inch touchscreen navigation. Go all the way up to ‘3’ and you’ll see larger 19-inch alloys, black leather upholstery and a JBL premium speaker system. Going off the lower spec levels, quality is still very good.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? The previous generation Sportage could always keep its head held high because of the way it drove. Thankfully, the latest generation can keep it there. It’s an impressive car on the road – there’s very little body roll through corners, the steering is

accurate with a surprising amount of feel and there’s not too much road noise either. The 1.7-litre engine is refined and quiet at low speeds, but emits a relatively pleasant sound when speeds increase. The manual gearbox is definitely the one to go for – the automatic is a little dim-witted, especially when pulling away from junctions.

WHAT DO THE PRESS THINK? It’s ‘good value for money. It’s on trend, being a crossover. And it’s safe to buy because it comes with the back-up of a seven-year warranty’, says Autocar.

WHAT DO WE THINK? The latest incarnation of the Sportage is just as impressive as its predecessor. Kia needs to be wary about pricing itself too high – with the highest-spec car htting £30,000. But there’s no doubt the Sportage will be popular, and it has every reason to be.

THE KNOWLEDGE

Model: Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi ‘3’ Price: £24,750 Engine: 1.7-litre turbocharged diesel Power: 114bhp Max speed: 109mph 0-60mph: 11.1 seconds MPG (comb’d): 61.4 Emissions: 119g/km

TARGET BUYERS: Families who want good fuel economy and business owners wanting a lower rate of tax.

THE RIVALS:

Hyundai Tucson and Volkswagen Tiguan

KEY SELLING POINTS: 1. Excellent value for money 2. Fantastic seven-year warranty offered with every car 3. Involving and entertaining drive

DEAL CLINCHER: The Sportage combines value for money with the latest tech.


CarDealerMag.co.uk | 45


FORECOURT. ENGINE

A small capacity turbo petrol engine offers increased torque

INSIDE

A spacious and capable cabin doesn’t forfeit performance

EXTERIOR

Suzuki Vitara S

Is Laura Thomson impressed by Suzuki’s combination of a 1.4-litre Boosterjet engine, four-wheel drive and sporty styling? WHAT IS IT? When Suzuki revealed its new Vitara at the start of 2015, it was praised for its spaciousness and capability but there were only two mediocre engines to choose from. The introduction of the Vitara S and its new turbocharged petrol engine looks set to change this, and with its sporty styling the S model is targeted at a slightly younger demographic.

WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET? The Vitara S’s 1.4-litre Boosterjet engine is Suzuki’s first venture into turbo technology. The 138bhp direct-injection engine offers 41 per cent more torque than the 1.6-litre petrol unit found in the standard Vitara, while providing a four per cent improvement in fuel economy. The Vitara S can accelerate capably at both high and low speeds.

WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE? The Vitara S, the range-topping 46 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

model, comes with many of Suzuki’s safety and convenience features, including hill hold and descent control, a rear-parking camera, automatic air conditioning and a pollen filter. However, considering this high level of spec, the interior plastic surfaces have a surprisingly cheap, scratchy feel. While Suzuki hopes the sporty appeal of the Vitara S – which includes 17-inch black alloy wheels, front and rear silver skid plates and a rear upper spoiler – will attract younger drivers, the high price could mean the car is out of reach price-wise. A lower-spec Vitara S would solve this issue, but there are no plans to produce one.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? A track-based media launch proved the capabilities of the Vitara S’s ‘Allgrip’ four-wheel-drive system, ABS and brake assist function as well as its electronic stability programme. With only the slightest of scrabble after harsh acceleration, the Vitara

stuck to the track surprisingly well for a high-sided car. On the road, the Vitara S is responsive and doesn’t lack power on motorways or when overtaking. However, as you’d expect from a car with a sporty set-up, the firm suspension isn’t particularly favourable on rough roads.

WHAT DO THE PRESS THINK? AutoExpress says: ‘The new 1.4-litre turbo really does address one of the biggest criticisms of the Vitara. It now has that turn of pace, and, as an added bonus, it uses less fuel too. It’s a shame the engine is restricted to the range-topping S model, but then again, you do get a very likeable and reasonably roomy little car’.

WHAT DO WE THINK? A sporty alternative to Suzuki’s popular compact SUV, the Vitara S sets itself miles apart with its Boosterjet engine. It’s a bright and comfortable ride, with good allaround visibility.

The Vitara S boasts 17-inch black alloy wheels, silver skid plates and a rear spoiler

THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Price: Engine:

Suzuki Vitara S £20,899 1.4litre Boosterjet petrol Power: 138bhp Max speed: 124mph 0-62mph: 10.2 seconds MPG (comb’d): 52.3 Emissions: 127g/km

TARGET BUYERS: Young families looking for a spacious SUV that doesn’t lack performance and delivers stylish, sporty aesthetics.

THE RIVALS: Citroen C4 Cactus, Jeep Renegade.

KEY SELLING POINTS: 1. Powerful and responsive 1.4-litre Boosterjet engine. 2. Sporty appearance. 3. High levels of spec.

DEAL CLINCHER: A powerful drive train coupled with an impressive level of specification.


CarDealerMag.co.uk | 47


FEATURE.

Photographer Jonny Fleetwood took the Audi A4 on an Indian road trip, hoping to gain some insight into Audi’s new popularity in one of the world’s richest emerging markets.

Road Raj 48 | CarDealerMag.co.uk


W

ith ever stiffer competition in the European markets, more and more manufacturers are turning their sights to emerging markets such as India in a bid to get a piece of the action. Having a population of 1.2bn – nearly twice that of the whole of Europe – India is an obvious choice for expansion, and Audi seems to be reaping the rewards. Despite being a relatively new kid on India’s blocks – only arriving in 2007, some 13 years after German rival Mercedes – it’s managed not only to establish a strong dealer network, but also to rank number one for sales in the premium sector since 2013. And so the plan was set. Friend and fellow photographer Rohan Hande and I would fly 4,500 miles to Mumbai, pick up the keys to an Audi A4 and travel in a detour-laden path north to the capital city New Delhi, stopping off at dealers along the way in the hope of getting a better understanding of the Indian car market. With the new A4 arriving in India slightly later than Europe, we were provided with the previous-generation car for our journey. I couldn’t see a more fitting way to visit Audi India’s dealer network – giving a send-off for the model that’s served customers and dealers so well over the past eight years.

Mumbai Leaving the airport in Mumbai can only be described as a full assault on the senses: the oppressive humidity and heat had the T-shirt sticking to my back before even reaching Rohan’s flat. Ahead of the car’s arrival later that evening, we visited our first showroom of the trip: Navi Mumbai. If first impressions are half the battle then Audi is doing well. The modern exterior stood out from surrounding shop fronts and the bright, clean, air-conditioned interior was no different. After the hustle and bustle outside it was like being transported home – a familiar haven, easily capable of standing toe to toe with its European counterparts. The only slightly disconcerting feature was an almost total lack of cars. Speaking to sales manager Valerian Rodrigues, we quickly got an explanation and it wasn’t a supply issue. ‘Yesterday there were plenty of cars here, now we only have a few. It’s all about culture and religion in India. People like to take deliveries on particular auspicious days.’ As it turned out, our arrival had coincided with

Sales manager Valerian Rodrigues at the showroom in Navi Mumbai

Top: The A4 is delivered. Above: A fuel truck going the wrong way down a motorway

the culmination of the Navratri festival – the final day of which is deemed excellent for taking delivery of a new vehicle. Moving on to the topic of Audi’s success in India, Rodrigues put the brand’s quickly-found momentum down to the pairing of aggressive marketing and the right model mix. With delivery of our car fast approaching, we took our leave and headed back to the apartment.

early on – externally, the car appeared to sit a little higher, and after a few miles the suspension felt far more forgiving than it would on our UK cars. ‘What’s the national speed limit?’ I ask. And Rohan’s answer to this would largely sum up the experience of driving in India: ‘I don’t think we have one ...’ Everything from humble mule carts doing walking pace to chauffeured Q7s going for the land speed record – all are welcome to the party on India’s highways. As for the inside lane, that’s widely accepted as a place to park. So passed our first day – Rohan laughing off our near-misses with jovial nonchalance, and me shouting at anything and everything that came close. The attitude of drivers in India is very different to the UK, and it soon became clear – with my blood pressure going off the charts – that I’d just have to try to embrace it. As night fell, Rohan took over at the wheel and things started to get really scary. Road quality nosedived as we entered Rajasthan, and keeping up any reasonable pace became a tense business. Throw in plenty of stray animals and HGVs travelling in the wrong direction – without headlights, might I add – and it was to be a hairraising final leg to the hotel. But it was nothing that some street food and a tepid bottle of beer couldn’t fix. After a night of sleep shattered by blaring bus horns and the waspish buzzing of auto-rickshaws, it was time for our second dealer interview: this time at Audi’s Udaipur branch. Unlike the modern metropolis of Navi Mumbai, with its tower blocks and skyscrapers, the divide between rich and poor was far more obvious in the historic city of Udaipur. Standing like a beacon of luxury, the showroom is juxtaposed with the

Udaipur Taking the first stint in an attempt to ‘get my eye in’ early while the traffic was light, we began to pound down the miles and get fully acquainted with our A4. Build quality felt no different to the European model, and with the top-tier ‘technology pack’ fitted, we were kitted out with LED running lights, adaptive suspension, navigation and more. Saying this, we spotted one difference even

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FEATURE.

A rose among thorns: The Audi showroom in Udaipur really stands out

crumbling shell of an apartment building – hard to find a more obvious metaphor of life in modern India. While the dealer principal was indisposed, we got chatting with assistant sales manager Dheeraj Sehdev. Having lived briefly in the UK while studying at university in Leicester, he was keen to talk us through the adaptations made to Audis destined for the Indian market and discuss the brand’s success in his home country. The first thing we brought up was the A4’s loftier ride height, a point Sehdev was more than happy to address. As we’d suspected, Indian models come complete with softer, rough-road suspension – and we were certainly feeling the benefit after the previous day’s mammoth drive. Moving inside, the topic turned to a more generalised picture of car sales in the Indian

market. Sehdev revealed that the highest-selling model is the Q3, crossovers having taken India by storm in the past few years – and we had certainly seen a fair few on our drive, usually pounding the expressways linking larger towns and cities. Considering the road conditions, this seems like a logical choice – a car that keeps the prestige image while being capable of tackling roads that would have seen even our robust A4 beached like an overturned turtle. As in the UK, Sehdev said most cars are bought on finance – either for tax purposes or business use – and it was no surprise that sales were predominantly diesels, too; lower running costs outweighing the price increase in much the same way they do in Europe. As for the most popular colour choice, the resounding answer was white – though for more practical reasons than you might expect. ‘Other colours show up the dust worse and then the car needs more regular cleaning,’ explained Sehdev. Top right: Jonny interviews Dheeraj Sehdev dressed as a student to confuse him Left: The Thar Desert provides a stunning backdrop Right: Women give Jonny their usual reaction

50 | CarDealerMag.co.uk


ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROHAN HANDE

Jaisalmer

residence of the Maharaja of Kishangarh. A palace nestled within the walls of an imposing fort and – more exciting still – we had the place to ourselves. The hotelier’s reaction to our evening plan should have been a clue as to what we were in for, though. ‘The roads very very bad. Jeep OK, car will struggle.’ With Audi’s navigation lacking any map data for the sort of rural tracks unpleasant enough to make even a 4x4 enthusiast quake, we charted our path using a mixture of Google maps, intuition and luck. Outside the villages we passed through, the track became less gravel and more sand – Dakar, eat your heart out – and the Audi smashed it all. And when I say smashed, I mean literally smashed. Despite navigating the potholes with fighter-pilot precision, there were inevitable clunks and scrapes as protruding rocks battered the Audi’s underside. With around 20 minutes to spare before the sun dipped below the horizon, we crunched our way on to the desolate salt flats. Finding the perfect photography spot, we set about getting as much in the bag as the failing light allowed. Then there was time to simply sit and take it all in: a huge expanse of nothing, containing nothing except the sound of our footsteps… and a stray dog carrying a shoe. When our stomachs’ grumbling began to spoil the peaceful silence, we called it a day and headed for our private palace.

After one last cup of coffee for the road, we took a detour into remoter parts of Rajasthan. Our journey to Jaisalmer, deep in the Thar Desert, began appallingly – the car’s nav taking us into the ancient heart of the city rather than around the outskirts. After crawling at snail’s pace through narrow congested streets, the end was in sight when, with our Audi miraculously still intact, we took a final left and ran headlong into a bottleneck. Pinned from behind and in front by other traffic, it was the ultimate Mexican standoff. Micro-manoeuvring to squeeze both cars past each other, the oncoming 4x4 successfully inched past when calamity struck. Just as we started to move, one bike clipped the front arch, leaving a nasty gouge… sorry Audi. Finally free of the narrow streets and on the open road, we stretched out for the drive to the finish line 300 miles away. Cutting through hills and bridging streams, the road led on, providing a stunning new vista at every turn. Although winding, the road and lack of speed limit let the Audi speed up on occasion. Getting out of the city didn’t mean leaving danger behind, though: rounding a corner to find cattle crossing the road was an ever-present problem. As night fell, we relentlessly munched down the remaining miles to the ‘Golden City’ of Jaisalmer where, among many of the atrractions, we spent a night camping in the desert and visited the eerie ghost town of Kuldhara – as seen on the title page of this feature – which lies on the former Silk Road.

Jaipur

Sambhar Salt Lake En route to our next dealer interview in Jaipur, we set the nav for India’s largest inland salt lake. Aiming to arrive for sunset, we had time to check out our hotel: Roopangarh Fort – the former royal

General manager of sales Chandan Khandelwal of Audi Jaipur

Arriving in ‘The Pink City’ after a short drive we headed straight to the dealership. Sadly, with no need to keep track of anything but the date, we had arrived on a Sunday, and unlike in the UK, this meant being greeted by a closed sign. After battling through heaving bazaars and frankly feeling overwhelmed by the noise and hordes, we did the only CarDealerMag.co.uk | 51


52 | CarDealerMag.co.uk


FEATURE.

respectable thing and retreated to the sanctuary of our hotel’s roof. Morning brought renewed masculinity and a short drive took us to the Jaipur showroom. Although relatively compact, the site also hosted one of the Audi Approved Plus showrooms dealing with used stock. Chatting with general manager of sales Chandan Khandelwal, we got a succinct outline of why he thinks Audi is proving so successful. ‘It’s a good brand, good quality, quality dynamics and better customer satisfaction.’ He also touched on the brand’s popularity with high-ranking officials. ‘Rajasthan’s chief minister uses Q7,’ he said. ‘Five or six Rajasthan ministers also.’ The Approved Plus showroom next door had only been open for two months, and although not the first in the country, it was the first in Rajasthan. The Approved Plus split-off is a response to the increasing amount of cars returning from finance deals while maintaining the prestige of purchasing new – hence separate showrooms with separate doors. ‘As new sales progress, used cars also do’, said Khandelwal. ‘There is always a good market for used cars.’ A quick tour showed us the fastidious cleaning and repair process employed to bring the cars up to as-new condition before sale. At this point, we sheepishly mentioned the underside knocks our A4 had received so far, but the salesman tasked with giving us the tour merely chuckled and pointed at a car on the nearby inspection ramp. All key areas – engine, transmission and gearbox – were covered with protective plating, ‘This is standard on all Audis in India,’ he told us with a knowing smile. Phew!

Fleetwood’s fear of parking scratches was taken to new heights at Sambhar Salt Lake; Below: Sales manager Pankaj Sharma and the Audi Delhi South showroom

New Delhi After a brief detour to Agra to see the Taj Mahal – which no trip to India could possibly be without – we headed to our ultimate destination: Audi’s Delhi South showroom. Hitting the Yamuna Expressway – by far the best road we had travelled on, with three lanes of gloriously smooth tarmac almost empty of traffic – it was time to put the Audi through its paces before handing back the keys. The Delhi South showroom turned out to be huge. Spread across two floors, and with an Approved Plus showroom attached too, we spoke with sales manager Pankaj Sharma over coffee. ‘In India people spend on three things,’ he told us. ‘Marriage, houses and cars.’ Sharma explained that, ever increasingly, cars are becoming symbols of status on a par with more traditional cultural markers. ‘Customers are looking for the luxury car marque such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Sales are rapidly growing.’ Different finance options have partly fuelled this trend, more providers with flexible, lower rates empowering a wider segment of customers to commit to a new car than ever before. What’s more, it’s an influx of younger buyers that seems to be keeping the car market afloat –

keener to use their disposable income to enjoy the finer things in life than their parents or grandparents perhaps would be. ‘The new generation has a different mind-set in comparison to older. Previous generations are often looking for savings but these people are looking for luxury and comfort.’ We then broached the subject of gender balance in a still relatively patriarchal society such as India. Sharma explained that although things are shifting, around 80 per cent of customers are men, and of the 20 per cent made up of female customers, ‘hardly 10 per cent’ would come unattended, arriving either with a husband or brother. Despite this, he was quick to point out that in such cases the decision was rarely if ever being usurped by the male. ‘If she is looking for a car for her it is unusual for that to become a family decision.’ Leaving our A4 with him at the showroom, we asked Sharma what his hopes for the new model – and Audi’s future – looked like. Although admitting ‘we are facing good competition from Mercedes’, he felt that Audi’s product testing in India and subsequent adaptations, varied product range and expanding

brand awareness would all factor in keeping Audi a strong player in India for the indefinite future. With the flight home looming, we said farewell to both Sharma and our car, handed over the keys and headed for the airport. With a monotonous 11-hour journey ahead, there was plenty of time to think back over our whirlwind trip across a country as beautiful as it is varied. Once known as ‘the jewel in the crown of the British Empire’, India has overcome huge obstacles since achieving independence in 1947, yet despite this, it is on a path to become one of the largest economies in the world. A shining prospect for investment from all sectors including automotive, Audi’s success so far is testament to the possibilities in India. Coming in as the underdog to an already wellestablished Mercedes network, it has succeeded through strategic marketing, fit-for-purpose products and a strong focus on the customer experience from sales to servicing. And all in a country with 22 official languages, up to 1,652 dialects and countless traditions varying with the social background and religion of the individual entering the showroom. Bravo Audi. [CD] CarDealerMag.co.uk | 53


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What drives us is you CarDealerMag.co.uk | 55


FEATURE.

Back with the badge of honour

Andrew Evans looks at the history and heritage of the Ford Focus RS and chats with two of the TrustFord dealers who will be selling the new car

I

n the UK we’ve had a love affair with fast Fords that goes back to the days when the guys at Dagenham worked with Colin Chapman’s engineers up the A11 at Hethel to produce the Lotus Cortina. In the intervening half-century, the Blue Oval has produced performance car after performance car, wrapped in the more ordinary bodies of its family cars – and the British public have loved every single one of them. Through the Essex wide boy reputation of the XR range of the 1980s and the more recent ST models, one performance brand runs right through the history of Ford: RS. The new Focus RS has something of the weight of history sitting on its shoulders. The RS – or Rallye Sport – badge carries with it more than 40 years of predecessors spanning 30 models depending on whom you ask. Nevertheless, it’s the car that Ford fans have been asking for since the rumblings about the

resurrection of the RS badge started in 2001. We spoke to Dermot Rafferty, general manager at TrustFord Northern Ireland, and Glen Kenington, general manager of TrustFord Barnsley, Castleford and Wakefield – two of the specialist dealers who’ll be selling the Focus RS. The first generation of Ford Focus RS came along in 2002. The RS badge had been dormant for six years, following some of the least well-remembered RS models – like the pretty mundane Escort RS2000. What was the effect of bringing the badge back? Dermot Rafferty: Escort was a huge part of our heritage and a huge part of RS too, but it’s fair to say that by the time Focus came along, the Escort was a tired vehicle. The technology and the design within the Focus was

revolutionary and set new standards, not just for Ford, but for the motor trade in general. The Focus itself was the iconic car of its generation for Ford Motor Company and it was a fantastic success from 1998 through to 2001 before the Focus RS came along. By that time the Focus had developed as almost a brand within a brand, so to then come out with this halo car was just tremendous for us. Glen Kenington: The Mk1 Focus RS was very well received and after the seven- or eight-year period between it and the Escort RS Cosworth it was very much an awaited vehicle. It sold fantastically for the limited amount of vehicles we had – we just couldn’t get hold of them. Every one we did have was sold already, even the ones in the showrooms, so it

Continues on page 58

HISTORY OF THE FORD RS The RS badge goes back 43 years, bringing race car looks and performance to more ordinary Ford models. Here are some of 1970 Escort RS1600

1973 Capri RS3100

1984 RS200

The car that started it all, with a Cosworthtuned 120bhp 1.6 good for 113mph!

Homologated for UK Touring Cars, the 3.1-litre V6 is the biggest-engined RS to date.

This Group B rally special might still be the most extreme Ford ever produced.

56 | CarDealerMag.co.uk


INTERVIEW Jon Reay talks to Andy Barratt, Ford of Britain MD What does the RS mean to the UK? The UK is the spiritual home of RS – more so than anywhere else in the world. Even though the RS brand actually started in Germany, over the years the UK has been where the biggest volume of cars has gone – the second has been Switzerland, of all places. What kind of sales figures are you anticipating? In the UK we sold 4,000 of the prior model Focus RS, we sold 4,000 of the one before, and we’re expecting a similar number of this one. I think there’s such a deep, loyal, enthusiastic owner base for this car – that’s why it’s had the fastest pre-sale of any car we’ve ever launched in the UK. I think now that people start reading the road test reports that will step up further, and I expect our order bank of 2,000 will be 3,000 very soon. What impact do you think the new RS will have? I think it’s a car that so many people will aspire to. I think what it will do for the brand is huge, what it will do for the dealers involved is significant, and I think it’ll attract a lot more people back to the Ford brand. So it’s the right car, right time, right place. To have a performance car like this, with Mustang, at a time of low petrol prices makes it even more attractive! Of the current order bank, how many have been conquest sales? I would guess about one-third are new to Ford – and that’s pretty good on an RS when you’ve got a such deep, loyal following where people will commit blindly to the car because they just know what it’s going to be. And to get one-third at this stage – because conquest sales tend to come in slightly later, once the cars have been seen on the road – I’m really quite delighted. It makes my job a lot easier!

the most legendary RS models. 1990 Fiesta RS Turbo

1992 Escort RS Cosworth

The smallest RS to date, the 130bhp RS Turbo was a true hot hatch.

With its insane whale tail spoiler, the ‘Cossie’ is probably the most famous RS.

How do you see residual values holding up for the new car? Look at the prior RS – they are selling used for what people paid for them new. So they hold their value incredibly well. The first Focus RS, a lot of journalists are tipping as a future classic. If you look at the evolution of the pricing of RS models from years gone by, they’ve all appreciated – they’ve reached a tipping point and then have appreciated… and I think this one is going to be no different. I think it’s the most capable, single-minded RS product we’ve probably ever had for the road, and that’s a great place to be – the team have done an amazing job. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 57


FEATURE.

2002 Focus Mk1 RS

The rebirth of the RS brand after a six-year lull, limited to 4,501 cars

Continued from page 56 was a pity that people who hadn’t got in early enough missed out. Ford wasn’t put off by the questions about high-powered front-wheel drive cars and when the time came to produce a new Focus RS it remained a front driver. Power went up from 212bhp to 301bhp from the new 2.5 litre Volvo 5 cylinder engine. Did the decision to keep frontwheel drive dissuade customers? DR: When you’re talking about 300bhp in a frontwheel-drive vehicle... well, it takes a bit of driving sometimes! We didn’t see any customers falling away because it was front-wheel drive though – the only trouble we had with the Mk2 was getting hold of them. I don’t know if that was Northern Ireland-specific, but we had no trouble selling what we received. 58 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

GK: They all seemed to be great sellers, but the Mk2 Focus RS was the disappointing one. It almost lost the recognition among the RS collectors because it wasn’t a four-wheel-drive car. With the 2.5 Volvo engine it lost some of the Ford and RS touches. DR: It was a very sought-after car though, as it would be today, even though it was a step away from Ford in terms of trying to get volume from an RS product.

Ford seemed to agree though that the Mk2 RS wasn’t quite extreme enough and produced a limited run of 500 cars in 2010 with the wick well and truly turned up. Did this bring customers back to the RS brand? GK: There were only 101 for the UK and we were lucky enough to get three of them through to our sites. Again, they were sold well in advance and with 345bhp they were getting back to the RSness – I think they were all sold to collectors who


2010 Focus Mk2 RS500

With 345bhp, the RS500 pushed the limits of front-wheel drive. Only 101 cars came to the UK!

TURN OVER THE PAGE TO SEE WHAT WE THINK OF THE NEW FOCUS RS

Focus was on the rally stage. Did rally success have the same effect?

probably don’t even use them. You very rarely see one on the road! DR: That was a bit of an adventure for us – it was the first time I’d ever seen a wrapped version. They were sold for around £35,000 and nowadays they’re still making over that. Ford had built a bit of a reputation in the ’80s with the ‘race on Sunday, sell on Monday’ ethos of touring cars, and of course by this time the

DR: World Rally success at that time was a huge thing – the effect something like that has becomes a signature of the entire brand. It’s very difficult to quantify in terms of actual sales, but that type of publicity for that type of vehicle is always massive. That brings us to the Mk3 Focus, which has the same power as the RS500 but is now four-wheel drive. It’s also the first five-door RS model and the first to be produced for the world market, not just Europe or the UK. Is it appealing to the dads of the 2010s who bought Escort RS Turbos in the 1980s as teenagers? DR: The Mk3 is again setting new ground for us,

with the first time RS has been a five-door. This type of vehicle these days isn’t so much for the young fellow it may have been in the late-1980s and early-1990s and Ford is actually pitching the car as something that can be driven as a family vehicle, along with being the performance vehicle that it is. GK: From a customer point of view it has been fantastically received and the press has helped that as it’s scored top marks for everything. It’s certainly a little toned down for world market tastes – they’ve gone away from the green of the last one, though the blue is very much a Ford colour and stands out especially with the black wheels, but it’s not quite as bright. Again, we’ve sold every one that we can get hold of, so anyone ordering now is probably waiting a good six or seven months before they’ll see it. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 59


FEATURE.

Ford Focus RS Jon Reay couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of the new model. Did it live up to his expectations?

WHAT IS IT? The car fast Ford fans have been waiting on for the past five years: the latest generation of Focus RS. Unlike the angrily-styled limegreen monster that came before it, this RS no longer has just European (and particularly Essex boy) tastes in mind. Instead, it has to appeal to the world, as for the first time it’s going on sale in far-flung markets such as Asia and America as well. This Focus has quite a lot resting on its shoulders, too. Not only must it live up to the RS badge’s rich heritage but it’s also got to compete with the sales success that is the Volkswagen Golf R, along with a pair of premium rivals from Mercedes and Audi. No pressure, then...

Options

Lightweight forged alloys, Recaro shell seats and nitrous blue paint new for RS

Under the bonnet

Heavily modified Mustang 2.3-litre EcoBoost pumps out 345bhp and 400Nm

WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET? Rather than simply plugging a bigger turbo into the ST’s 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol, Ford has gone one step higher for the RS, taking the 2.3-litre from the Mustang and re-engineering it for more power and a different character. The result is a rather healthy 345bhp – that’s 50bhp more than the Golf R, if you’re interested – allowing the RS to sprint to 60mph in 4.7 seconds and sail on to a top speed of 165mph. More importantly though, this is the firstever Focus RS with all-wheel drive, and it’s not your average set-up either. Most hot hatches of this ilk – the Golf R and Audi RS3, for example – use a fairly conventional ‘Haldex-type’ fourwheel-drive system to put down the power, which works effectively enough at shuffling the balance of torque between the front and rear wheels whenever necessary. The Focus’s system does that too, sending up to 70 per cent of the engine’s power to the rear wheels, but thanks to a cleverly engineered clutch-based diff at the back, the RS can also actively decide to send as much as 100 per cent of that power to each individual rear wheel – in theory, letting the car pivot around corners in a way none of its rivals can.

WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE? Most of the usual Focus’s toys are available, making the RS a fairly easy to live with bit of kit, and in addition Ford has thrown in some RS-specific goodies. There are two choices of Recaro front seat 60 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

4WD system

RS has four-wheel drive for the first time, and a clever clutch-based rear diff

– some RS-trimmed body hugging conventional ones borrowed from the Focus ST, or a pair of optional shell seats, similar to those you’ll find in hardcore RenaultSports, Porsches and, of course, the old RS. Beyond that, there’s not a huge amount to tell you you’re in the fastest Focus on sale. There are a few hints here and there – blue stitching on the leather trim, and different dials for example – but

not much differs from lesser models. Except, that is, for the four driving modes – Normal, Sport, Track and Drift – and the boast-inducing launch control option. Buyers won’t feel hard done by in a base-spec, £29,995 car either – an eight-inch touchscreen with Ford’s SYNC voice activation, a nine-speaker stereo with DAB radio, and Bi-Xenon headlights are all thrown in, while options such as sat nav and a rear-view camera aren’t prohibitively expensive to add on. Ford says that most early buyers have been happily ticking at the option boxes too – 89 per cent have added sat nav or ‘luxury’ packs, 83 per cent want the lightweight forged alloys, and more than half have plumped for the racier Recaro shell seats. Sixty-one per cent have asked for theirs in lurid Nitrous Blue, too.


THE KNOWLEDGE

Drift Mode

A clever mode lets the RS go sideways in a controlled yet rather flamboyant way

Model: Ford Focus RS Price: £29,995 Engine: 2.3-litre turbocharged petrol Power: 345bhp Torque: 440Nm Max speed: 165mph 0-60mph: 4.7 seconds MPG (comb’d): 36.7 Emissions: 175g/km

TARGET BUYERS: Existing fast Ford fans. Buyers looking for the ultimate hot hatch

THE RIVALS: Volkswagen Golf R, Subaru WRX STI, Honda Civic Type R

KEY SELLING POINTS: 1. Best-handling hot hatch on the market 2. Low price point with promising residuals 3. DRIFT MODE!

DEAL CLINCHER: The fastest, best-handling hot hatch on the market for under £30,000.

RS’s chassis and suspension considerably, while a quicker steering ratio means it changes direction with greater responsiveness too. Despite all that, the RS doesn’t feel like it’d be a difficult car to live with. Ride is firm but not uncomfortable, the clutch and gearbox generate minimal fuss around town, and it’s almost as refined inside as the standard Focus at motorway speeds. We certainly can’t imagine the Golf R is much more serene – and compared with the Civic Type R and Subaru WRX STI, the Focus is practically a big pillow on four Michelin tyres.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? Right, here goes…. It’s outstanding. We knew the Focus had a fantastic chassis to begin with, but the addition of more power and all-wheel drive has made it all the more apparent. And what an all-wheel-drive system it is, too. Where AWD cars traditionally have a habit of being safe but a touch understeer-y near the limit, the RS’s torque vectoring set-up has an uncanny knack of hanging on to the tarmac until its tyres are squealing for mercy – it’s ludicrously grippy, no matter how ham-fisted a driver you may be. That’s not to say that Ford has played it safe on the handling front, though. Oh no. Get playful with the throttle and the Focus responds in kind, its back end more than happy to step out now and again in a pleasantly controllable way. You never feel threatened by the Focus’s

behaviour, though – in fact, it’s very flattering to drive quickly, and without the nagging will-thisspit-me-into-a-hedge fear you used to get in fourwheel-drive hot hatches a decade ago. Drift mode deserves more than a mention, too. Admittedly, it’s more of a party piece than a major selling point (for most customers at least), but it does make it fantastically easy to get the Focus churning up tyre smoke like Ken Block. It’s near enough foolproof too: the car senses things like steering angle and accelerator position to judge whether you’ve got the knack or not, while ESP and the four-wheel-drive system work together to prevent an impressive slide from turning into an on-the-spot pirouette. There’s no faulting the way the RS feels to drive, either. The ST isn’t exactly a wobbly blancmange of a car but Ford has stiffened up the

WHAT DO THE PRESS THINK? Autocar said: ‘Nothing else in the fast hatch arena combines real-world usability with real-road, anycondition pace, supreme driver involvement and such incredible bang for your buck.’

WHAT DO WE THINK? Few cars have generated so much hype over the past 12 months, so it’s nice to see that the Focus RS more than lives up to it. It’s fast, great fun to drive, corners like no other rival and isn’t unruly when you don’t want it to be. For under £30,000, there’s nothing else like it. The only downside? Finding one to sell. Ford plans to make just north of 4,000 UK models available to help keep residuals strong, and with more than 2,000 already snapped up, there might be a bit of a wait… [CD] CarDealerMag.co.uk | 61


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A good deal better We’ve introduced a refreshed range of flexible, competitive finance products for both franchised and independent dealers. Our products can be tailored to suit your customer’s individual needs. You can submit applications through our system, giving you a lending decision in seconds or talk to our underwriters for those harder to place deals. This makes us confident we can offer a better service to you than your other lenders.

0345 149 7777

pcf@paragonbank.co.uk

www.paragoncarfinance.co.uk 62 | CarDealerMag.co.uk


FOCUS ON.

Finance

Optimise, accept and deliver PARAGON

D

W: paragoncarfinance.co.uk T: 0345 149 7777

igital communications are at the heart of the car-buying process these days – and that means that the customer is very much in charge. But that doesn’t have to be a negative thing from a dealer’s point of view. With more than 70 per cent of new and used car buyers purchasing their vehicles on finance, securing a sale in the 21st Century largely depends on whether or not a dealer can provide an attractive finance option to purchase the car. That’s where Paragon Car Finance comes in. Over the past decade, the development of new technology has revolutionised dealer finance, meaning it is now easier than ever for dealers to submit a finance proposal to a lender over the internet and receive a decision in minutes. ‘At Paragon, we pride ourselves on being one of the few lenders that aims to maximise the number of acceptance rates it secures for each customer that goes into the showroom,’ said head of car finance Julian Rance. ‘Larger companies tend to have a “take it or leave it” business approach, but we’re bespoke and more flexible. We work with our dealers to provide the best finance package to suit every customer’s circumstances and, therefore, increase sales.’ Since its re-launch in February 2014, Paragon has grown steadily by developing its core hire purchase and lease purchase propositions for dealers and introducers in the consumer market. While the process in which customers purchase new and used car cars is heavily influenced by the world wide web, the firm believes that the traditional human touch is the key to success. Like other lenders, Paragon relies heavily on technology to support the delivery of a fast and efficient service to its dealers. However, unlike its competitors, the firm also supplements its automated system with a robust review process where each declined deal is analysed by one of its expert underwriters to see whether there is an opportunity to tailor a deal by adapting key terms of the contract – whether that’s by increasing the deposit, the term, the final payment or adapting pricing – to meet the individual customer’s circumstances more closely or to obtain more information on the customer. ‘Although the recent regulatory changes further

encourage the use of technology by facilitating automated records of individual transactions, it’s important to remember the value of human interaction,’ explained Rance. ‘You could say we have an old-fashioned approach to finance with a customer-centric view. We work with our dealers to find the right finance package for each of their customers. ‘Should they require one, our dealers will always receive a follow-up call from one of our underwriters suggesting an alternative deal structure – and before long, they’re calling us whenever they see an opportunity to strike a deal which can be achieved simply by injecting just a little bit of flexibility for the customer.’ Keen to increase its customer-focused approach, Paragon also encourages its underwriters to spend time in the dealerships, which allows them to learn more about each dealer’s stock and customer base so they can work with them directly to optimise their business with Paragon. ‘Our approach has proven particularly valuable for dealers operating in the prestige car market,’ said Rance. ‘With our underwriters visiting the

dealership on a regular basis – whether that’s once every two weeks or once a month – it means each of our clients has an extra pair of hands on standby and we can learn more about the dealers we’re working with.’ In addition, Paragon has developed a successful proposition for dealers looking to support the purchase of LCV vehicles. The commercial vehicle sector in particular has been one of the fastest-growing segments in the market, with a rise in the number of courier businesses and construction companies looking to put their transport on a more solid footing. Similarly, in 2016 Paragon will take that specialist underwriting approach into the niche market of motorhomes. ‘After two years in the business, we are an ambitious and a rapidly expanding company with a strong portfolio in the markets we serve,’ said Rance. ‘Currently, the LCV and motorhome sectors aren’t as well served as they could be, and we want to change that.’ Paragon’s specialist and responsive approach helps dealers do more business. By working with the firm to structure deals that fit car buyers’ needs more closely, dealers can improve turnover, raise levels of customer satisfaction and achieve more repeat business. ‘Like the dealer, we reap no benefit from a decline,’ explained Rance. ‘That’s why our bespoke services aim to ensure that we are flexible to customers’ needs and our dealers won’t miss out on a sale unnecessarily.’ by Sophie Williamson-Stothert @1Sophie_W

CarDealerMag.co.uk | 63


Sell more cars, with less effort.

Dealerplus The complete dealer finance solution. 1. Extensive lending panel 2. Same day payouts 3. Full loan comparison service

Visit

www.dealerplus.co.uk

or call us on

0333 222 4070

Whichdeal Limited trading as Dealerplus is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Waterloo House, Fleets Corner, Nuffield Road, Poole, Dorset, BH17 0HL, UK Copyright 2004-2016 Whichdeal Limited, all rights reserved. FCA No. 456327 | Co. Reg. No. 04997789 | DPA No. Z8890305 | Tel: 0333 222 4070 | Fax: 08712 370 272 64 | ŠCarDealerMag.co.uk


FOCUS ON.

Finance

Beat the comparison sites DEALERPLUS

W: dealerplus.co.uk/the-dealer-hub/ T: 0333 222 4070

I

t’s always good to have options – and nowhere is that more true than in the complicated world of car finance. Working out whether customers are prime, sub-prime or non-prime is one of the trickiest parts of the equation – and once that hurdle has been overcome, providing them with the most suitable deal can often be just as much of a headache. Fortunately, help is at hand from a company that understands all the difficulties dealerships face in this area – and offers a solution that delivers a range of first-class finance solutions while helping you save time, effort and money. Put simply, the Dealer Hub offering from Dealerplus is a system that would be a fantastic asset to any dealership, whether it’s a small, independent outlet

‘‘

or a large, franchised operation. It’s a unique piece of showroom software that provides you, the dealer, with all the tools and support you need to drive and convert more sales using car dealer finance. With a host of essential features such as downloadable documents, live deal status updates and a commission calculator, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. Car Dealer recently caught up with Tom Forster, head of Dealerplus, who explained more. ‘We really do think it’s a very clever piece of kit,’ he told us. ‘We have combined our superb finance software with essential tools that every dealership would benefit from. ‘We offer a full lending panel providing car dealers with comprehensive finance and loan comparison solutions for their customers. The whole system is very simple and effective. ‘Our strapline says that it saves the dealer time, effort and money and we believe it lives up to that. ‘We cover the whole market, including prime, non-prime and sub-prime and we’ve got a large panel of finance lenders to cover the whole range of customers’ credit profiles. We cover the whole market place – and it’s a webbased solution so there’s no IT requirement. ‘It’s quick and easy to set up. We go through a checking process with our dealers to make sure they meet the FCA requirements but after that, it’s just a case of us providing a couple of passwords. It’s a hassle-free way for dealers to give

We offer a full lending panel providing car dealers with comprehensive finance and loan comparison solutions for their customers. The whole system is very simple and effective.

themselves access to an additional panel of lenders, and it gives their customers the opportunity to have the whole market place searched on their behalf.’ Dealerplus really does come into its own if you have customers who are using comparison sites to look at loan options. Dealerplus puts control back in the hands of dealers by giving them access to their own full loans comparison service. And Forster gave us a good example of how Dealer Hub might be able to generate extra finance business for independents. He told us: ‘What we say to independents, for example, is, look, if you’ve got a client who comes to you having been approved for a personal loan, we can use soft search to provide an initial decision for alternative funding on the basis that it’s not going to affect their credit profile. ‘If the customer likes the offer that we put on the table, we can go back and get a firm offer if they’re happy for a credit search to be done. An independent dealer may then be able to compete with that personal loan.’ He added: ‘If a main franchise hasn’t got time to deal with non-prime clients because it’s too complicated to get all the proofs from them, we can just have the information sent to us. We can contact the client and we can construct the deal with them. We can get all the proofs and the paperwork directly from the client.’ The technology that powers Dealer Hub is extremely clever and intuitive. But it’s not just about the online system – there are plenty of friendly faces ready to get involved and help you every step of the way if needs be. The company is based in Poole, Dorset, and Forster said: ‘Of course, we’re very approachable in the office but we will happily visit dealerships to deliver training, sign paperwork and so on. We have a field sales team who are happy to come and arrange any appointments but we have an inhouse team who are happy to discuss things over the phone. We aim to be as flexible as possible. ‘And although we’re based in Poole, Dorset, we cover the whole of the UK.’ [CD] by Dave Brown (@CarDealerDave) CarDealerMag.co.uk | 65


FOCUS ON.

AA Cars

Brand values: The name AA CARS

W: theAAcars.com T: 01920 252054

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ith used car sales moving further into the digital age, and competitors’ listings one click away from yours, it’s crucial to make sure your dealership is one step ahead of the game – when a potential buyer lands on your website, they need a reason to stay there. That’s why AA Cars is launching its Dealer Vehicle Inspection package, which will equip each of your listings with additional brand value and safeguard your vehicles with a 128-point pre-sale report, helping you secure more sales and retain customer confidence. It’s surprising what impact a household name supporting your products can have on your target audience. When people see the AA, they immediately identify with it. Everybody knows the ‘AA man’ – he represents safety, security and trust. And, like the reliable AA man, that’s exactly what your cars should do. Since the changes to the Customer Rights Act in October last year, which allow the customer to legally return their vehicle to the dealership within 30 days of purchase if they can prove there was a pre-existing fault, it’s becoming increasingly important to ensure that your vehicle is 100 per cent roadworthy before it leaves your forecourt. Rather than depending solely on an MOT or an outsourced service, the AA Dealer Vehicle Inspection package provides both the dealer and customer with the peace of mind they need to seal the deal. ‘Online customers want to see everything in front of them – every little detail from the mileage and ownership details through to the service and MOT documents. That’s why we publish every single vehicle inspection report online,’ said managing director of AA Cars Paul Yates. ‘We’re giving dealers a trustworthy second opinion – it’s not the dealer telling the customers they’ve checked their stock, it’s the AA saying we’ve inspected the vehicle to strict pass or fail criteria. ‘And if it fails the first time, we won’t give up on it – we’ll put it through a brand new inspection once the faults have been rectified. If you show the financial value you put into your stock, you’ll maintain your margins.’ By associating your business with the AA, you’ll be able to generate more leads, seal more deals and encourage more customers to return 6666 | CarDealerMag.co.uk | CarDealerMag.co.uk

to your business. The AA branding won’t only appear on your website and forecourt, it will also mean that your vehicles will be listed on AA Cars with a full inspection report. ‘As well as providing a quality report, which includes a 128-point independent inspection with a road test to support any pre-existing claims disputes, the Dealer Vehicle Inspection package also associates your dealership with the brand that drivers trust,’ said Yates. ‘Being a trusted provider will give buyers the confidence to call or visit a vehicle at your dealership, rather than your competitor’s.’ In a world where used

cars aren’t exactly in short supply, the question of value and how much a customer can knock off the asking price is more prominent than ever. It is, therefore, important to demonstrate the value of the vehicle by providing the customer with the details of the additional benefits you can offer, including a six-page safety report and five-mile road test. ‘Say a potential customer is looking at three BMWs priced at approximately £9,000 on the internet, they’re going to go for the vehicle that is more appealing to the eye,’ explained Yates. ‘Your vehicle is more likely to be the one they


behind the business ‘‘

Our aim is to help dealers improve their processes to sell more, high-quality cars.

choose, not just because of the AA branding but because a detailed six-page vehicle report and test drive adds credibility and reassurance, helping you to retain your price margin. Without the AA inspection tool, what will buyers compare you against your competitors on? A lower price perhaps, but a customer is more likely to pay a few extra hundred pounds for a car that has undergone an AA inspection than one without.’ Yates added: ‘Our aim is to help dealers improve their processes to sell more, highquality cars. The system follows the changes in legislation to the Consumer Right Act, which

means customers can now legally return a vehicle to the dealership within 30 days of purchase and demand a refund. Our package can essentially prevent this scenario from ever occurring, providing the customer with strong evidence that the vehicle was mechanically roadworthy and safe for use before it left the dealership. ‘We know the MOT is a static test, making it near to impossible to pick up on mechanical failures when the car is stationary on the ramps. That’s why we drive the vehicle for five to 10 miles to ensure it’s in full working order. However, we also understand that the car is a

mechanical beast and it’s entirely possible that a warning light of some description could come on once it’s been handed over to the new owner – these things happen. But the AA inspection safeguards dealers against the possibility of customers placing blame on the dealership, should the vehicle require repair work.’ Selling a high-quality vehicle, which is free of faults, is far more likely to help a dealer retain returning customers and, therefore, generate more sales leads. Similarly, a vehicle is more likely to hold its value if a dealer can confidently secure its assets – after all, modern buyers find a vehicle with low mileage and ownership figures much more appealing than those with higher ones. The Berkshire Fiesta Centre is a family-owned business that has been selling cars for four decades. For the past two years, AA Vehicle Inspectors have certified every used car sold at its two sites. Owner Gavin Leach said: ‘I’ve sold cars all my adult life. Since I got involved with the AA in 2013, I haven’t looked back. ‘If there’s one thing someone buying a used car wants – it’s to be able to trust the person selling it to them. The AA has earned drivers’ trust over generations, and its brand is known and respected across Britain – so being associated with it is very powerful.’ If you still need convincing that adding the AA vehicle inspection badge to your dealership is the way forward, then the wonders it can do for your workshop are bound to sway you. ‘The vehicle inspection means your technicians will only be used to carry out profitable service and repair work, not pre-sale checks,’ said Yates. ‘We do that for you.’ [CD] by Sophie Williamson-Stothert @1Sophie_W

CarDealerMag.co.uk | 67


FOCUS ON.

GardX

Foot down, new business, GARDX

W: gardx.co.uk T: 01243 376426

G

ardX. The name is synonymous with paint and interior protection; a product with which the Chichesterbased brand has seen phenomenal growth since it was established in 2003. However, in latter years, the company has seen a number of strings added to its bow. GardX Protection was built on managing director Victor Coutin’s 35-plus years of experience in the motor trade. Having run his own dealerships, selling what were to become their competitors’ products, Coutin saw an opportunity to revolutionise the paint protection industry and leapt at it. ‘I approached the business as a motor trader rather than a chemical company,’ Coutin commented. ‘Any supplier can deliver product. The difficult part is maintaining sales of that product over a sustained period. ‘Our rivals had been in the industry a long time and were really just chemical suppliers. When GardX launched, we had specific core objectives – set by me and based on my experience of running my own dealer group.’ The organised yet personal touch that GardX brought to the industry proved to be a success, with the company seeing consistent year-onyear growth in the region of 25 per cent and now boasting offices worldwide, in countries including Australia, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, New Zealand, India, China and Dubai. Coutin explained just how the company had achieved such phenomenal success. ‘We’ve done it through executing professional account management and delivering what we say we can do. We call it ‘‘delivering the promise’’ and this means that our proposal to a dealer is the following: If they take any of our F&I products, we can guarantee that the percentage increase in penetration and percentage increase in profit will be sizeable; and significantly higher than if they were using a competitor’s product. ‘But the promise is also about the people we have – one of our successes is the people we’ve got within the business. We’ve got really good automotive professionals, who go out and deliver our specific training programmes.’ One of the strings recently added to GardX’s bow is the acquisition of a contract to become the exclusive BMW UK approved paint and 68 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

interior protection supplier. The wheels were set in motion for the creation of this contract almost two years ago, following positive testimonials about GardX from a number of BMW businesses. Knights BMW was one of these businesses. The midlands-based company made a calculated decision to make the switch to GardX and found that both their penetration and profit increased significantly. Coutin added: ‘A review of the UK paint and interior protection market was carried out by BMW UK after feedback and comments from several BMW and Mini GardX retailers on current product and competition. This review prompted a full commercial tender. Intensive product/application testing and a commercial evaluation was carried out to ensure BMW UK sourced the best product for their retailers and customers. Finally, after a lengthy process, GardX was chosen. The new BMW and Mini paint and interior protection product is called “Protect X”.’ Richard Price, aftersales director for BMW UK Ltd, commented: ‘We are pleased to announce that we have appointed GardX Protection Ltd. as the new supplying partner for our paint and

interior protection product. This partnership with GardX provides BMW and Mini retailers with a product that has additional customer and retailer benefits and the full support of the GardX professional account management team. ‘The GardX team will work regularly with the BMW and Mini retailers’ sales staff to maximise product sales.’ Coutin is clear about what this partnership means to GardX. ‘We’re absolutely over the moon about BMW choosing GardX. It has been hard work but I think this sends a very clear message to the UK auto sector and, above all, it sends a very clear message to our competitors. ‘We are consistently winning new business and the fact we’ve just won this manufacturer approval enforces what we know we’re doing, which is delivering a world-class product that delivers profit far in excess of the competition and with unparalleled customer satisfaction.’ Coutin also wants to draw attention to the rapidly expanding GardX Assure product range, a niche automotive insurance branch of the business, which was launched four years ago. The new year has brought a new company


more resource GardX will be campaigning two BMW One Series in the British Touring Car Championship this year

PICTURE: MALCOLM GRIFFITHS

structure for GardX Assure, becoming directly authorised by the FCA with further exciting announcements to come. ‘We expect the growth of our insurance business over the next five years to be as phenomenal as what we’ve done in the last 13 years growing the paint protection side of the business. We’re making significant long-term investments into systems, infrastructure and people. We are focusing heavily on delivering commercially competitive products with distinctive USPs,’ commented Coutin. ‘With GardX Assure we will operate our own administration and claims management business, alongside launching a new sales front-end system, which will be branded iGard, providing the essential balance between regulatory compliance and commercially focused accessibility,’ he continued. For the second year running, GardX will be the joint headline sponsor of the West Surrey Racing (WSR) BMW team, campaigning two BMW One Series in the British Touring Car Championship 2016 season. Alongside indulging their passion for motorsport, the sponsorship provides GardX with

worldwide exposure. The 2015 season was aired live on ITV4 and routinely received in the region of two million UK viewers, reaching almost 150 million potential GardX customers worldwide. ‘We will be supporting WSR with the aim of having our drivers take as many podiums as possible and build on the exposure that the 2015 season gave us. This further creates more worldwide brand awareness not just with our dealer network, but with consumers,’ added Coutin. Right now, GardX is all about expansion; and with the significant progression in both GardX Protection and GardX Assure, the brand is looking to hire a host of new staff in 2016. They have also placed major importance on the introduction of new products. Products like GardX AD-Vantage, a professional vehicle advertising solution focusing on vehicle imagery and videography. ‘The process at the moment is foot down, new business, more resource, look at new product offerings and build on our existing business, but fundamentally make our dealers more profitable and their customers completely satisfied,’ concluded Coutin. [CD] by Laura Thomson (@lauramayrafiki)

CORRECTION VICTOR Coutin was among the ‘Automotive Influencers’ who appeared in last month’s magazine, giving his thoughts and predictions for the year ahead. Unfortunately, a couple of errors crept in at Car Dealer Towers while we were preparing his answers for publication. In answer to the question, ‘What will be the next big advance in our industry?’ Victor’s answer should have read as follows: ‘I believe we will see rapid improvements in fuel efficiency using new ultra-efficient hybrids. I am sure manufacturers are working on battery innovation to achieve cost reduction and extended range that will be a key factor in increasing sales of electric vehicles. I also expect to see more virtual showrooms with video and greater digital interaction with the customer.’ Another answer from Victor contained a few erroneous words. Our apologies for the mistakes. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 69


DASHBOARD. FEATURE.

Ask Lawgistics

Customer might reject a car if it can’t be driven!

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

Q A

I am due to present my case in the county court shortly. Please tell me what I can expect and what I can do to enhance my chances of success. As daft as it may seem, the fundamentals are often overlooked. Ensure you know the time and location of the court. On one occasion, we were sat waiting in a courtroom whilst the person we were helping was in another courtroom 20 miles away. (We were the ones at the correct venue incidentally!) Cases have been lost by turning up at 10am only for those involved to learn that the hearing was at 9.45am and had already taken place. If possible, see if you can spot your opponent in the waiting room before the hearing starts. They may be nervous and/ or prepared to negotiate. Don’t be afraid to approach them and ask to use one of the private interview rooms – tell the court usher just in case the judge calls you in. If you can strike a last-minute deal that you can live with, that may be less of a risk than going before the judge and losing outright. If you agree something, you can still go into the hearing and ask the judge to write down the terms of the settlement in what is known as a Tomlin Order. No liability is admitted and there will be no County Court Judgment awarded. It is often suitable should you wish to pay your opponent by instalments. When you enter the court room, it is likely that the judge will be waiting. Sit where you are told to but

if the judge is not in the room, do ensure that you are standing when he or she does walk in. It is highly unlikely that the judge will be dressed in the robes you see on TV – more likely a suit. You should dress in one too if possible – no jeans or trainers please! And conservative colours only. Bright pink trousers and a yellow stripped shirt or blouse may have a place on a golf course but not in the formal setting of a court room. If the judge is male, refer to him as a ‘sir’. If female, ‘madam,’ although admittedly that can come across in the wrong way! Avoid that possibility by simply referring to the judge as ‘the court’. ‘I ask the court to consider this...’ or ‘I do not agree what [your opponent] has told the court’ are all better than referring to the judge as ‘judge’. They generally despise it and will tick you off if you do! How each judge determines matters varies greatly. Be prepared to ask questions of your opponent if you dispute what they have written in their Witness Statement. And know your case better than your opponent knows theirs. Plan well. Don’t interrupt, answer questions asked of you directly and honestly and whatever you do, never lose control of your emotions. If you disagree with the decision we can advise you on whether you ought to appeal. We cannot do this, however, if you are in the slammer for punching the judge on your way out!

.com

The names don’t match – should I be worried?

Q

I’ve been approached to purchase a vehicle but the name of the keeper on the V5 is different from the person I’m talking to – should I still buy? You will often experience this. Usually when purchasing from auction houses, the current keeper’s name will be different. However, if you have been approached by someone who claims to be in the ‘motor trade’ proceed with caution. The main issue here is whether the person has got authorisation

A

to sell/pass on title of ownership. Relatives of the named keeper should also be dealt with cautiously. For instance, imagine a situation where Mr P tries to sell you a vehicle, and the registered keeper happens to be Mrs P. You purchase the vehicle and money exchanges hands. Mrs P – or even the police – then contacts you to say the vehicle has been stolen by her husband (the couple happen to be going

through a bitter divorce) because Mrs P has not given her consent for title of ownership to be passed. You might have paid a purchase price, but you are not the legal owner. The obvious first check to do is check the vehicle’s history – however we often see that these checks have delays when it comes to interests being shown – but also check with the named keeper before reaching any agreement.

ADVICE

Q A

I’ve purchased a car from an auction house and it’s not got the V5. Can I sell it? This is a regular occurrence amongst traders. As you will know, the route of applying for a replacement V5 to be sent is by using the V62 form via the DVLA. However, this can take up to six weeks! So if you happen to have a keen buyer who wants to take the car urgently, it may be difficult for them to tax the vehicle and therefore they will be unable to drive it. The DVLA form clarifies this point: ‘If you are not the registered keeper of the vehicle, you may not be able to tax until you get a V5C in your name.’ If this happens to your customer, you could risk the customer being entitled to reject the vehicle. If the customer is unable to drive the vehicle for a potential six weeks, it’s arguable to say that the vehicle is not fit for purpose! We would suggest either holding back on advertising the vehicle for sale until the correct and full paperwork has arrived, or making it very clear to the customer that the vehicle cannot be delivered to them until after the V5 has arrived. Although this could potentially lengthen the time scale for selling the vehicle, it could save a lot of hassle. If you wish to advertise the vehicle and have not yet received the full paperwork, make all potential buyers aware that the vehicle could be off the road for six weeks.

JOIN CAR DEALER CLUB AND GET ALL THESE BENEFITS WORTH

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When sale fell through, Afzal Raj became the latest dealer to get invaluable advice from Lawgistics BRADFORD-based Monza Cars had been open for a year when a sale via a finance company unexpectedly fell through. Luckily, the dealership’s sales manager, Afzal Raj, had a decade of experience in the industry to draw on, and realised the finance company was wrong to ask for a full refund at such a late stage. Having signed up to the Car Dealer Club just months previously, Raj took advantage of the free phone call to Lawgistics and had legal advisor Nona Bowkis confirm his suspicions. The car in question was a Mercedes-Benz C Class, which was on sale for £11,900 at the family-run business. The customer had spotted it on the forecourt and gone to a broker who had sourced a quote through a third-party company. The finance company made contact with Monza Cars to inform them that they had approved the customer for finance, and that he would go ahead with the purchase and collect the vehicle over the weekend. The weekend came and went, but the customer had not been to collect the vehicle even though the car had been paid for. To complicate things further, over the same weekend, a number of inquiries had been made about the car. Raj had responded that the car was pending a sale, and that it would not be fair to sell it to someone else. An email from the finance company on Monday morning informed Raj that the original customer would like to withdraw from the sale, citing reasons to do with his employment. However, when Raj spoke to the customer, he was given a different excuse and asked to refund the full amount.

Having prepared the car for the sale, and even having refurbished the wheels as requested by the customer, Raj felt that he was not obliged to repay the full amount, despite the finance company informing him that he was bound to do so under distance selling legislation. It was at this point that Raj went to Lawgistics. ‘I expressed my disbelief of working with this finance company to Nona, and I explained that they had said that the customer was entitled to a refund via the Distance Selling Reglations,’ he commented. ‘Now thankfully, because the customer had not contacted me direct, but had approached the finance company – we were dealing with a third party – the Distance Selling Regulations did not apply, and the finance company was attempting to fob us off. ‘Nona said that we were eligible to ask for some sort of compensation for preparing the car and the loss of sale. I put this to the finance company and explained that the customer had not approached us, and was not dealing with us direct. They put their hands up and said right OK, pay us back less any fees you have incurred and so forth. The matter was resolved and put to bed.’ Of the full payment, Raj retained £400, refunding the customer £11,500. This was the amount he felt adequate, having spent almost £200 on preparing the car, and losing business from the people who had asked about the car over the weekend but had subsequently found alternative cars.

£1,000s AND ALL FOR JUST £39.99

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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’s a package for everyone with Lawgistics.

EASY STEPS TO JOIN CAR DEALER CLUB

1

OR

GO TO WWW. CARDEALER CLUB.COM

Scan the QR code

2

HIT SUBSCRIBE

3

FILL OUT YOUR PAYMENT DETAILS ON PAYPAL AND 4 HIT SUBMIT WAIT FOR YOUR CAR DEALER CLUB PACK TO ARRIVE IN OR THE POST PHONE 023 9252 2434 AND SPEAK TO ONE OF THE CAR DEALER CLUB TEAM

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DATA FILE.

Thestatistics

n

SMMT Sales Data

n

Taking Stock

Good news on new cars – but used cars are ‘less tempting’

Consumer confidence the key to stability in the months ahead, says SMMT

T

he UK’s new car market got off to a positive start in January, with registrations climbing 2.9 per cent compared with the first month of 2015 to reach an 11-year high of 169,678 units. Private and business buyers drove this growth with demand for new cars up by 8.2 per cent to 73,061 and five per cent to 6,716 units respectively, while the fleet sector declined slightly by 1.1 per cent to 89,901. The month marked the highest number of new cars registered to private buyers in January in 12 years. Alternatively-fuelled vehicles also grew in popularity – and market share – with registrations up by 32.1 per cent on January 2015, to account for a record 3.6 per cent of registrations. Petrol hybrids showed the largest growth – up 44.1 per cent to 3,783 cars, while plug-in hybrid demand grew 32.3 per cent to 1,592 vehicles and pure electric cars enjoyed an uplift of 14.1 per cent to 584 units. Demand for

diesel, which just retained the majority market share, remained stable, up 0.6 per cent, while petrol registrations grew 3.7 per cent. The top five best-sellers in January were the Ford Fiesta (8,353); Nissan Qashqai (4,839), Vauxhall Corsa (4,803), Ford Focus (4,285) and Volkswagen Golf (3,813). Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, pictured, said: ‘January’s solid performance puts the new car sector in a good position. Providing consumer confidence stays strong, we expect a more stable 12 months ahead, broadly similar to 2015, a record year.’

James Hind, founder of Carwow, added: ‘2015 may have been a record year for new car registrations, but I’m predicting that 2016 will see an even bigger lift. ‘The fact that this is the best January since 2005 for the new car market is a good indication that people’s confidence in the market is growing. ‘With petrol hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure electric cars increasing in popularity, it seems that car buyers are taking a more environmentallyfriendly approach to their purchasing decisions. This is a trend that I think will continue as the year progresses, particularly as people become more concerned about being green, or being seen to be green. ‘New cars in general are now a more attractive option for buyers than nearly-new used vehicles, due to the availability of better finance deals and the packages that often come with a new car. The used car market is swiftly becoming a less tempting option for people.’

‘All eyes are now on March 1 plate-change’ SUE Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers’ Association (NFDA) which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, said January’s figures were ‘extremely positive’. ‘Consumer confidence continues to grow as the economy becomes more robust, and retail customers feel secure enough to commit to buying cars,’ she said. ‘This is helped by the competitive offers made available 72 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

by the manufacturers and more disposable income due to higher levels of employment. ‘On the back of this we predict that the franchise sector will create 15,000 new jobs in 2016 following all the new and nearly new cars being serviced. We expect the market to continue to perform well and to build on the success of 2015.’ Ian Gilmartin, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, added: ‘Last

year’s success was driven by growth in fleet sales, so it’s particularly pleasing to see the jump in private buyers during January, as well as a staggering one-third increase in alternativelyfuelled vehicles. Balance in the type of sales will be crucial as 2016 progresses. ‘All eyes now will be looking forward to the plate change on March 1. Based on today’s data it looks like the industry is in good shape to replicate recent successes.’

SMMT sales data Jan/year to date

5

Top

Most-improved manufacturers in January

smart +266% Jaguar +181% Jeep +139% MG

+131%

SsangYong +114%

5

Bottom

Worst-performing manufacturers in January Chrysler -100% Maserati -28% Seat -24% Citroen -15% Mitsubishi -15%


HONDA +25.24%

SEAT -24.61% Figures supplied by SMMT

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

January 2016 2016

201 304 69 11,513 120 8,265 1 0 4,574 1,667 1,089 3,558 22,035 4,520 5,881 105 2,252 804 5,066 4,609 1,001 16 82 4,281 11,800 313 1,931 1,535 10,720 7,313 827 4,145 3,119 4,993 703 260 207 2,354 6,829 15,262 12,055 2,990 48 261 169,678

% market share 0.12 0.18 0.04 6.79 0.07 4.87 0.00 0.00 2.70 0.98 0.64 2.10 12.99 2.66 3.47 0.06 1.33 0.47 2.99 2.72 0.59 0.01 0.05 2.52 6.95 0.18 1.14 0.90 6.32 4.31 0.49 2.44 1.84 2.94 0.41 0.15 0.12 1.39 4.02 8.99 7.10 1.76 0.03 0.15

January 2015

2015

133 236 45 11,354 129 8,008 0 57 5,414 1,620 0 4,184 21,480 3,609 5,794 61 800 336 4,914 4,303 1,006 13 115 3,340 9,348 135 2,243 1,808 11,076 7,171 630 3,016 4,137 5,116 192 121 166 1,897 6,711 16,935 13,993 3,009 49 152 164,856

% market share 0.08 0.14 0.03 6.89 0.08 4.86 0.00 0.03 3.28 0.98 0.00 2.54 13.03 2.19 3.51 0.04 0.49 0.20 2.98 2.61 0.61 0.01 0.07 2.03 5.67 0.08 1.36 1.10 6.72 4.35 0.38 1.83 2.51 3.10 0.12 0.07 0.10 1.15 4.07 10.27 8.49 1.83 0.03 0.09

% change 51.13 28.81 53.33 1.40 -6.98 3.21 0.00 -100.00 -15.52 2.90 0.00 -14.96 2.58 25.24 1.50 72.13 181.50 139.29 3.09 7.11 -0.50 23.08 -28.70 28.17 26.23 131.85 -13.91 -15.10 -3.21 1.98 31.27 37.43 -24.61 -2.40 266.15 114.88 24.70 24.09 1.76 -9.88 -13.85 -0.63 -2.04 71.71 2.92

2016

Year-to-date (YTD)

201 304 69 11,513 120 8,265 1 0 4,574 1,667 1,089 3,558 22,035 4,520 5,881 105 2,252 804 5,066 4,609 1,001 16 82 4,281 11,800 313 1,931 1,535 10,720 7,313 827 4,145 3,119 4,993 703 260 207 2,354 6,829 15,262 12,055 2,990 48 261 169,678

% market share 0.12 0.18 0.04 6.79 0.07 4.87 0.00 0.00 2.70 0.98 0.64 2.10 12.99 2.66 3.47 0.06 1.33 0.47 2.99 2.72 0.59 0.01 0.05 2.52 6.95 0.18 1.14 0.90 6.32 4.31 0.49 2.44 1.84 2.94 0.41 0.15 0.12 1.39 4.02 8.99 7.10 1.76 0.03 0.15

2015

133 236 45 11,354 129 8,008 0 57 5,414 1,620 0 4,184 21,480 3,609 5,794 61 800 336 4,914 4,303 1,006 13 115 3,340 9,348 135 2,243 1,808 11,076 7,171 630 3,016 4,137 5,116 192 121 166 1,897 6,711 16,935 13,993 3,009 49 152 164,856

% market share 0.08 0.14 0.03 6.89 0.08 4.86 0.00 0.03 3.28 0.98 0.00 2.54 13.03 2.19 3.51 0.04 0.49 0.20 2.98 2.61 0.61 0.01 0.07 2.03 5.67 0.08 1.36 1.10 6.72 4.35 0.38 1.83 2.51 3.10 0.12 0.07 0.10 1.15 4.07 10.27 8.49 1.83 0.03 0.09

% change 51.13 28.81 53.33 1.40 -6.98 3.21 0.00 -100.00 -15.52 2.90 0.00 -14.96 2.58 25.24 1.50 72.13 181.50 139.29 3.09 7.11 -0.50 23.08 -28.70 28.17 26.23 131.85 -13.91 -15.10 -3.21 1.98 31.27 37.43 -24.61 -2.40 266.15 114.88 24.70 24.09 1.76 -9.88 -13.85 -0.63 -2.04 71.71 2.92

*Citroën’s monthly registrations included DS until May 2015. As the Citroën result for January 2015 is for both brands, Citroën and DS registrations need to be combined when comparing year-on-year. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 73


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74 | CarDealerMag.co.uk


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

Why valuing older and lower quality vehicles accurately is crucial to attract the buyers Although demand for used cars has been strong, there are still challenges to be faced, says BCA UK’s chief operating officer, remarketing, Simon Henstock

T

he latest Pulse report shows that the headline average value of a used car sold at BCA fell in January 2016 compared to the previous month. The headline average value of a used car in January fell to £7,877, down by £169 (2.1 per cent) compared to December, although performance against CAP Clean improved quite sharply from 96.4 per cent to 98.5 per cent. Year-on-year, average values were down by £78 (one per cent), with age static and mileage declining by some 1,400 miles. Performance against CAP was up by a quarter of a percentage point compared to 2015. Average fleet and lease values fell by £148, while dealer values climbed by £68. Nearly-new values fell, although model mix has a significant role to play in the low-volume sector. January saw a well-balanced marketplace in terms of supply and demand, with plenty of appetite for used cars across the board. However, average prices dropped slightly compared to the back end of 2015 and while there is a lot of demand for good retail-quality stock, there are certainly challenges at the extremities of the market. Valuing older and poorer quality cars accurately is crucial to tempt the buyers. The price of scrap has fallen and this has effectively removed the safety net for these lowvalue vehicles. At the other end of the market, there is pressure on the values of late plate vehicles due to the attractive deals available on new/PCP and the availability of pre-registered vehicles in the marketplace. The relatively mild weather has also meant that the seasonally strong performance for the 4x4 sector hasn’t really reached expectations. With Easter arriving early, we may see values reduce more quickly than usual once we move

into the second quarter and the holiday season. Fleet and lease car values averaged £9,440 in January, a fall of £148 (1.5 per cent) compared to December’s figure of £9,588. Performance against CAP improved sharply from 95.64 per cent to 98.03 per cent, while retained value against original MRP (Manufacturer’s Retail Price) improved slightly at 40.48 per cent, with age and mileage broadly static. Compared to January 2015, average fleet and lease values were down slightly by £38 (0.4 per cent), with performance against CAP Clean improving although retained value was nearly a percentage point down on 2015.

Average value of a used car sold at BCA:

£7,887

Average values for dealer part-exchange cars improved in January following two months of decline. Values rose by £68 (1.6 per cent) to £4,316 over the month, with performance against CAP Clean rising to 99.03 per cent from 96.5 per cent. Year-on-year values remain ahead by £241 (5.9 per cent), with CAP Clean performance ahead by 1.5 percentage points compared to a year ago. Nearly-new values fell by just over £1,600 (7.2 per cent) to £22,074. Model mix has a significant effect in this very low volume sector, as we always point out in these summaries. CAP Clean performance improved marginally to 99.6 per cent over the month.

Year-on-year values ahead by

£241

CarDealerMag.co.uk | 75


AUCTIONS.

Henstock AUCTION STATIONS

Consider vans as a good profit prospect The car is a great-value example of Italian exotica

Elton’s ’05 Quattroporte goes like a rocket, man 2005 Maserati will be going under the hammer soon

A

2005 Maserati Quattroporte V, first owned by Sir Elton John, will be going under the hammer at Classic Car Auctions’ March sale. Ordered new by Sir Elton, the car features a host of extras, including a rear DVD player and screen, games input, two headphones, remote control and six-CD auto changer. Also included in the sale are the original Maserati welcome letter, the unused personal 24-hour concierge member’s card, and a personal gift of a matching leather-covered key tray, tool kit, gloves and car cover. The history file also includes national press cuttings from the sale of the car to its second owner in 2010. Estimated at between £15,000 and £17,000, the car offers a great-value example of Italian exotica, with Sir Elton’s

name on the V5 certificate, a mere 28,000 miles on the clock, a fresh service and with an MoT until January 2017. CCA classic car specialist, Arwel Richards, commented: ‘This is a wonderfully rare opportunity to buy an example of Italian exotica that goes like a rocket man. ‘There’s something about the way this car looks at night, and the vendor should still be standing as he waves goodbye along the yellow brick road to the auction rostrum!’ CCA are currently inviting entries of classic cars and modern sports cars into the March sale, up to a value of £50,000. It takes place on Saturday the 19th at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre. Anyone interested in selling a car should contact the team for further information or visit classiccarauctions.co.uk.

Manheim’s charity activities boost Oxfam coffers MANHEIM helped to raise over £32,000 for Oxfam in 2015 by selling 25 cars donated to the charity, as well as through the notfor-profit social enterprise, Giveacar. Since 2006, more than £100,000 has been raised for Oxfam through the sale of more than 350 cars. Any cars donated that

are not suitable to be sold can also create revenue with their scrap value. Giveacar, founded in 2010 as the UK’s first independent car donation scheme, has seen a significant rise in the number of cars donated to charities to help with their fundraising efforts.

A

lthough this is ‘Car’ Dealer magazine, I do enjoy the challenge of going off-topic occasionally and talking vans. Used van prices having been rising as the UK economy has improved. Much of this was due to the shortfall of younger used LCVs destined for the used market from the major fleets and leasing companies, who were cautious during the worst of the recession. Then there were record numbers of small businesses being set up as the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit fired up. With the parcel delivery and courier sector growing rapidly as the digital shopping revolution continues, values for panel vans of all types and capacities have been maintained at a high level and demand has risen for virtually every type of commercial vehicle, from Lutons to tippers. Announcements about major infrastructure projects, road network improvement schemes and house-building projects have boosted the civil engineering and construction industries, and the very many independent businesses that service them. One of the first assets small businesses, partnerships and sole traders are likely to acquire is company transport and that is invariably a van. The upshot of all this is that vans remain a good profit prospect, even as an infrequent sideline. For the used dealer who has the experience and ability to buy vans well and access to the right sort of retail customer, these are the sort of opportunities that should not be missed. And with good-quality vans still at a premium in the used market, it makes sense to take advantage of BCA’s market-leading sales programme for LCVs. With access to the best sellers in the business, BCA brings the very best stock to the market every week, with a national sales programme and a great selection of stock. Check out our comprehensive catalogues of commercials online at bca.co.uk and get vans working for your business!

Who is Simon Henstock? ‚

He is BCA UK s Chief Operating Officer – Remarketing. Visit british-car-auctions.co.uk or call 0845 600 6644.

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ENTRIES INVITED FROM CORPORATE VENDORS WORLD CLASS FACILITIES – FIRST RATE SERVICE Click www.cityauctiongroup.com for vehicle details, images and NAMA inspection reports 76 | CarDealerMag.co.uk


Carwow celebrates a million users ahead of CDX16. bit.ly/carwow96

Online remarketing specialist launches physical car auction

MANHEIM

Good month for dealer vendors

G3 announces £500,000 investment in Leeds project after record year

G

3 Remarketing is investing £500,000 in the launch of a physical car auction in Leeds. The news follows a record year in which the company hit the £4m turnover mark, with £900,000 profits. Established in 2009 as an online vehicle remarketing specialist for the fleet, finance and contract hire sectors, G3 has grown to become a well-known independent brand in the digital arena. Having worked hard to improve the customer experience for vendors and purchasers of end-of-lease cars, the company has encountered wider demand for its services in different areas of the motor trade.

G3’s four-acre headquarters is therefore being redeveloped to make way for a new physical auction hall for the non-prime finance returns and part-exchange market. Set to cater for car supermarket vehicles of up to £5,000 in value, the site will soon house a 30,000 sq ft viewing auditorium, buyers’ lounges, vehicle preparation facility and space to store up to 200 vehicles under cover. G3’s joint director Matt Dale said: ‘The company was founded because we believed there was the need for a high-quality, independent, live online car auction in the industry. ‘We’ve perfected the technology for this type of trade, and worked

hard to raise the bar, ensuring every vendor and buyer is looked after from start to finish. However, we’ve been increasingly approached by buyers and vendors of part-exchange vehicles, who seek the same quality of service but still want to see, hear, touch and smell the cars. ‘Given we’re ideally situated off the M62 and M1, we’re therefore extending our offering to echo the same level of standards within physical auctions too. ‘We feel there is a really compelling argument to establish a truly independent, customer-focused auction facility to serve not only the north of England but the entire UK.’

All change at the top with a retirement and new team at the helm at auctioneers COYS CHRIS Routledge has been appointed CEO of international auctioneers COYS, based in Richmond upon Thames. Following the retirement of chairman Douglas Jamieson at the end of 2015, Routledge, who acted as managing partner and has worked at the firm since 1991, will be joined by new partner Guy Newton in taking the company forward. The rest of the core team will remain unchanged, and consists of James Good, George Nichole, Alex Fischer, Ben Manch, Nick Wells, Holly Car dealer May 2015 24/4/15 Curtis and Tom Allkins.

Guy Newton, front, and Chris Routledge, in the front seat, with the COYS team Jamieson said: ‘I am delighted for Chris and the team. I have had a fabulous career with the company and I am looking forward to focusing on my personal pursuits. I have a number of ongoing projects with COYS and will continue to work alongside them.’ Routledge said: ‘Having worked 10:53 Page 1 at COYS for 25 years, it is a fantastic

No cowboys. Just Just trade trade professionals. professionals.

feeling to take control of the business which I have devoted so much of my life to.’ Guy Newton said: ‘I have worked alongside Douglas and Chris for a number of years. ‘Douglas’s retirement has given me a great opportunity to join Chris in partnership and work alongside him in the future.’

PART-exchanged cars selling at Manheim’s auctions in December sold for an average of 3.9 per cent (£131) more than the same month in 2014. They recorded an average selling price of £3,514 despite an increase of nine per cent in Manheim’s overall used car volume. Compared to November, average values fell slightly by 2.1 per cent (£75), likely to be predominantly related to part-exchange stock sold in December being an average of two months older, with over 1,500 more miles on the clock. MPVs were the only vehicle segment to buck this monthly trend, with the average selling price rising by 3.5 per cent (£147), reflecting a trend seen in several months of 2015. Year-on-year, average selling prices were up in eight out of 10 vehicle segments, with 4x4 values up by 6.7 per cent (£509); executive car prices increasing by 7.4 per cent (£456); and a rise – somewhat unusually for the season – in coupe values of 4.8 per cent (£269). Daren Wiseman, valuation services manager at Manheim, said: ‘December was another good month for our dealer vendors.’

Strictly Trade only (VAT No. and verified bank details reqd). Purpose built 12 acre auction complex . Enclosed and heated auction halls. Fleet Car Sales every Monday & Thursday. Excellent variety of weekly stock from premium sources. Collection of vehicles 24 hours a day. Fixed cost buyer’s premium. Excellent on-site restaurant. Call now for account applications. Brindley Road, Stephenson Industrial Estate, Coalville, Leicestershire LE67 3HG T: 01530 833535 email: info@fleetauctiongroup.com www.fleetauctiongroup.com

CarDealerMag.co.uk | 77


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78 | CarDealerMag.co.uk


MARKET INSIGHT.

..in association with ASE-global.com

Shares decline amid fears over the global economy However, another relatively strong year for the motor retail sector lies ahead, says Adam Cottam

L

isted motor retailers generally reported a decline in share price in the month of January, although Cambria and Caffyns both gained slightly. Cambria issued a solid trading announcement and Marshall Motor Holdings released a similarly positive notice of results in advance of their final results due on March 17. Both groups reported growth stemming from both acquisitions and like-for-like operations. In transactional activity, Cambria bought the Welwyn Garden City Land Rover dealership from Jardine Motors whilst Vertu continued their expansion by adding three Honda sites. January also saw Cambria dispose of Exeter Jaguar and close their boutique Aston Martin dealership on the same site. The FTSE100 finished the year significantly down on the start of the year, mainly due to falling commodity prices, with oil being a particular concern. There are concerns amongst some commentators over the strength of the global economic recovery given the falling price of oil, and this is expected to worsen as Iran increases production following the lifting of sanctions imposed back in 2012. The UK economic outlook still remains strong, however, built on a backbone of high employment, low interest rates, contained inflation and increasing consumer confidence. Another relatively strong year for the motor retail sector is therefore expected. Share price performance Amidst the backdrop of the FTSE 100 slide, most listed motor retailers saw their share prices drop in the first month of 2016 trading. Only Cambria and Caffyns saw slight increases, as we’ve said,

Share price movement from January 1 to January 31, 2016

Share price movement from January 1 to December 31, 2015

Pendragon

84.9%

143.8%

Vertu

89.9%

128.2%

Lookers

85.4%

142.3%

Inchcape

90.9%

108.3%

Cambria

102.5%

170.2%

Caffyns

100.5%

98.2%

Marshall

91.6%

114.2%*

* movement since admission to AIM on April 2, 2015

with the rise in Cambria likely due to their M&A activity and strong trading update in the month. Equity markets struggled globally in January, and the FTSE 100 did not depart from this trend. There is continued concern over falling commodity prices and stalling inflation along with the slower-than-expected growth rates of economies such as China. However, it is not clear whether these concerns are linked to the fall in equity prices among the UK motor retail groups, especially given the apparent strength of UK economic growth, in particular the improvement in consumer confidence leading to more decisions for households to buy new cars. And whilst some initial drops in orders were felt by those representing the Volkswagen Group brands affected by the emissions scandals, consumer confidence in the brands appears to be returning. It remains to be seen how the recall, and the associated media spotlight, will affect Vertu has acquired three Honda dealerships from Lookers

motor retailers and whether the effects are across the whole industry, and not just the four brands who have found themselves involved. Financial performance Cambria issued a trading update, which was solid and in line with expectations. Increases in new and used unit sales year on year were reported, along with an improvement in aftersales profit. Cambria noted that their 2015 acquisitions were bedding in well, making reference to the Swindon Land Rover acquisition in April 2015. Growth forecasts were not altered and, all in all, the business looks to be in excellent shape as we make our way through the first quarter of 2016. Marshall Motor Group released a pre-close statement and notice of results in January, which was again positive. Growth attributed to M&A activity and like-for-like improvements was reported. It was pointed out that the group has significant capital available to fund more growth should the right opportunities present themselves. Transactional activity January saw three transactions involving the listed motor retail groups. Firstly, Cambria added to their Land Rover representation by acquiring the Welwyn Garden City dealership from Jardine Motors for £10.8m which included £10m goodwill. With an estimated P/E ratio of under six, the deal represents good business for a Land Rover point of representation in the current climate and is expected to be comfortably earnings-enhancing from the outset. In the same announcement, Cambria also disclosed details of the disposal of their Exeter Jaguar business and the closure of the Aston Martin boutique facility in the same location. Finally, in a deal worth around £2m, Vertu acquired Nottingham, Derby and Stockton-OnTees Honda from Lookers. Vertu expects the acquisition to be earnings-enhancing in the very first year of ownership and £0.2m was paid in goodwill. Nottingham and Derby had been owned by Lookers for many years, and the Stockton site was recently acquired in the deal that saw Lookers purchase Benfield Motors in September 2015. All locations are situated in contiguous territories to existing Vertu Honda points of representation.

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 | 79


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RECRUITMENT.

VW / Seat brand director is well qualified for his new role Do my best? I was told to save that for when we were really in trouble!

C

rewe Volkswagen brand manager Ben Gilbert, right, has been promoted to Volkswagen passenger cars and Seat brand director for the Swansway group. Gilbert joined Swansway in 2004 as aftersales manager at Crewe Volkswagen and was promoted to brand manager at Wrexham Volkswagen in August 2008. He explained: ‘When I was offered the role at Wrexham Volkswagen, it was making a loss, so I knew I had a tricky challenge ahead of me. I remember telling our chairman, Michael Smyth, that I would, ‘‘do my best’’ and he replied, ‘‘just do what’s required, save your best until we’re really in trouble’’. That’s stayed with me ever since. ‘In two years at Wrexham

Volkswagen we effected a £1 million turnaround from loss to profit, something I’m very proud to have achieved, along with the wonderful Wrexham team.’ February 2011 saw Gilbert move to become head of business at Crewe Volkswagen. Again the site was under-performing. Gilbert added: ‘There was a great team there and I

MMG careers advert_Layout 1 26/07/2012 15:29 Page 1

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Gordon heads up Audi team A NEW head of business has been appointed at Marriott Motor Group’s Audi dealership in Bury St Edmunds. Gordon Down will head up the Bury St Edmunds Audi team and continue to strengthen the strong regional profile of the dealership. He brings with him more than 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, with an aftersales background progressing to general management. He has worked with the Volkswagen Group previously as well as brands such as Mercedes and Jaguar. Mark Dockerill, Marriott Audi brand director, added: ‘I am delighted that Gordon will be joining the team at Bury St Edmunds Audi.’ Down lives in Bury St Edmunds with his wife and four children. In his spare time he enjoys cooking, travelling, shopping and motorbikes.

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knew we could turn it round. ‘My greatest achievement was taking Crewe Volkswagen to number one Volkswagen retailer in the UK for 2014. It looks like we’re going to take that title for 2015 too, which shows how consistent we are.’ Gilbert’s experience meant he was the perfect candidate for the Swansway Volkswagen Cars/Seat brand director role. Swansway director John Smyth explained: ‘His experience makes him hugely qualified for his new role and we wish him every success.’ Noel Kirwan, 34, has been appointed brand manager at Crewe Volkswagen to replace Ben Gilbert. John Smyth said: ‘Noel’s achievements are exemplary. Once we’d met him, we knew he was the perfect candidate for the role.’

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www.marshallcareers.co.uk

...with a career at Vertu Motors

Welcome to Vertu Motors PLC, the largest growing motor retailer in the UK Whether you’re starting your career or changing jobs, it is important that you apply to join a company that is right for you, one that shares your values, will appreciate your work ethic and reward your achievements. It is not that different from buying a car. Get it right and you’ll feel good every time you make a journey. Get it wrong, however, and you’ll never feel satisfied. Choosing an employer is similar but, considering how much time we spend at work, it is far more important to get that choice right. After all, this is a decision that will literally change the course of your life. You need to know, however, that we are equally choosey when deciding who will make this journey with us. You would expect no less.

to find out more about the Group and see our current vacancies.

To apply or to explore all our exciting career opportunities, visit...

www.vertucareers.com

CarDealerMag.co.uk | 81


DATA FILE.

James Litton TRADER TALES

When should fierce growth strategy stop?

I

am sure many of you have been enjoying the BBC’s adaptation of War and Peace. For those of you who haven’t, nor perhaps have the appetite and staying power required to read the novel, it is a story of humankind set during the Napoleonic Wars – in particular, love stories of Russian gentry who are under threat from the Republican French would-be conqueror. Napoleon’s campaign to conquer Russia saw one of the most famous Pyrrhic victories (one where the cost of triumph is greater than defeat) in global warfare: the Battle of Borodino, which was fought on September 7, 1812, and left at least 70,000 casualties out of some 250,000 combatants. With Moscow under threat, the Russians dug in at Borodino and waited for the French to attack. While the casualties on both sides were severe, by the time the French finally took Moscow there was no prize to be had, and two months later they were in full retreat and disarray. Now, what on earth does all this have to do with the car trade, I hear you cry? With the faint hum of Auld Lang Syne growing ever louder, BMW appeared to take action to nip in front of Audi to finish the year some 600 units ahead of its four-ringed rival. A quick scan of the BMW used car locater may suggest where some of this closing action came from, but the wider question remains, at what point does this aggressive growth strategy cease to make sense? To be fair to my former employers from Stuttgart, Gary Savage’s frank interview conducted by James Baggott confirms that while Mercedes is aware that some preregistration exists, the majority of its growth has come in retail and fleet sales. The top ranking in the NFDA survey would suggest that whatever Mercedes is doing, the network is happy with it. BMW’s ‘achievement’ is even more impressive when you factor in the lack of an A1 competitor – a significant contributor to the Audi volume. I am sure that all three German brands have sustainability at the heart of all of their UK growth strategies, and I for one will be watching with interest now that I am on the outside looking in.

‘Gary Savage’s frank interview confirms that ... the majority of Mercedes’ growth has come in retail and fleet sales.’

Who is James Litton?

James is sales manager at Mercedes-Benz of Taunton. He always has something to say about the industry he loves. 82 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

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Paragon

Codeweavers

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Lead Generation

Auction Buyers 4u

AutoProtect

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guide

Confessions

YOUR REAL STORIES

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Vehicle Preparation & Cleaning

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National Car Cleaning

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Paint Protection

Vehicle Remarketing

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Supagard

CarGurus

WMS

Parts

Vehicle Remarketing

Website Design & Digital Marketing

Euro Car Parts

Friday-Ad

GForces

Stock

Video

Website Design & Digital Marketing

Maguires Garage

CitNOW

Goldsand Digital

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W: maguiresgarage.co.uk T: 028 9061 3141/07718 780343 E: info@maguiresgarage.co.uk Info: New car and van imports in stock and available to order. Contact Stevie or Jim. First-class customer service and very competitive pricing.

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W: cargurus.co.uk T: 0800 808 5557 E: dealers_uk@cargurus.com Info: Leading car shopping website that brings transparency to the car search process, helping consumers easily find great deals.

W: fridaymediagroup.com T: 01273 837855 E: MotorsTeam@fridaymediagroup.com Info: An automotive classified site that exposes used car dealers to more than 200,000 unique car buyers a month. Detailed search functionality helps drive leads.

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The UK’s Best Used Car Warranty

W: wisedealer.co.uk T: 01254 355104 E: dealers@warrantywise.co.uk Info: Provide your customers with the UK’s best used-car warranty, designed by Quentin Willson.

W: wmsgroupuk.com T: 01844 293 810 E: dealers@wmsgroupuk.com Info: Open 24/7, we offer award-winning warranty products for FCA- and non-FCA registered dealerships.

W: gforces.co.uk T: 0844 247 4523 E: info@gforces.co.uk Info: The leading provider of automotive web software and full service marketing, working globally with OEMs and more than half of the UK’s top 200 dealers.

W: goldsanddigital.com T: 020 7287 9233 E: info@goldsanddigital.com Info: Build a high-quality pool of hot leads, avoid fatiguing your database and create marketing your customers will love.

Vehicle Inspections

Warranty

Website Design & Digital Marketing

AA Cars

Car Care Plan

Spidersnet

W: theAAcars.com T: 01920 252054 E: enquiries@theaacars.com Info: The AA is a trusted brand, so let us help you expand your business with vehicle inspections, AA branding and advertising on our used car site.

W: carcareplan.com T: 0344 573 8000 E: salesinfo@carcareplan.co.uk Info: The market-leading supplier of warranty, asset protection and cosmetic repair products protecting 1m customers every year. We work with manufacturers, dealer groups and independents across the world.

W: spidersnet.co.uk T: 01273 837560 E: support@spidersnet.co.uk Info: Award-winning website solutions plus services to help drive leads to dealers’ doors. The specialist team are dedicated in assisting new and used operations reach their full online potential.

I felt a right heel after my silly shoes prank

P

ractical jokes have always been a bit of a speciality of mine. It’s fair to say I’ve enjoyed varying degrees of success over the years – some have been hilarious triumphs worthy of inclusion on ‘You’ve Been Framed’; others have been dreadful embarrassments. One silly example showed why I really should give them up. A few years ago I worked in a dealership and sat opposite a colleague of mine called Sandra – aka ‘the clumsy one’. That was her nickname for herself, not mine, by the way, so please don’t think I’m being unkind. She was a lovely girl but tended to spill the odd drink, kick the occasional waste paper basket and generally cause mayhem throughout the dealership. One thing she was very good at, though, was making tea. Again, please don’t judge – we had an agreement that she brewed up in the mornings and I put the kettle on in the afternoons (sometimes). Anyway, it was about 10am one Tuesday and, naturally enough, it was time for a cuppa. Sandra strolled over to the kitchen area and got to work. Just as she did that, it was my turn to be clumsy. I dropped my phone and keys while she was away. While picking them up, I noticed something interesting – Sandra’s shoes were under her desk. She’d padded over to the kitchen in her socks. With my annoying practical-joker persona, there was only one thing to do. Hide them. I nabbed her shoes and put them in my bottom drawer, obviously to be returned to her at some point later in the day after a bit of light-hearted banter, some general hilarity, that sort of thing. Anyway, 10am became 11am, 11am turned to lunch ... and the day wore on. Little did I know Sandra spent all day in her stockinged feet! At about 3.30pm, my mobile rang. It was my wife in a panic. She was running late and unable to pick our children up from school. Could I leave work and collect them? ‘Of course, dear,’ I replied, and dashed off – completely forgetting to give Sandra her shoes back. It was my fault she had to go home barefoot that night. I got in VERY early to put her shoes under her desk the next day – but things were never quite the same between us after that...

‘She was a lovely girl but generally caused mayhem throughout the dealership.’

Tell us your story

Have you something to confess? We’d love to hear your tale of woe. Email us (you can find our details on page three) or post them on our new forum – simply type cardealermagazine.co.uk/forum into a web browser and get confessing! CarDealerMag.co.uk | 83


KEY NOTES

..in association with Traka

A time for reinvention ‘Omnichannel retailing’ could be the next big thing for dealers, says Paul Smith

C

ar buyers increasingly expect their new motors to come with advanced technological functionality as standard – but when it comes to applying leadingedge technology to the dealership sales experience, our market has been behind the curve, according to some observers. Car manufacturers and dealers have been using their online presences as part of their multi-channel sales and marketing strategies for years – often leading the way with interactive 3D visuals, live-action video and augmented-reality website overlays. However, the main aim Hyundai are exemplifying the ‘omnichannel approach’ of these flashy features is still to coax to turn its effects to their advantage. And it’s here customers into showrooms to have face-tothat ‘omnichannel’ retailing is being espoused as face conversations with real-life agents while the business model of next resort. touching, feeling and test-driving actual cars. As the primary interface between customer But if some analysts are right, increasing and car, dealerships seem destined to find numbers of car buyers around the world are themselves bearing the brunt of this retailing reseeking alternative routes to ownership – routes alignment, and so should be prepared to reinvent that may bypass the showroom altogether. themselves along omnichannel lines, other Online consumer demands have wrought market-watchers, including Frost & Sullivan, fundamental changes to business models have warned. operating right across the retail world, and car Omnichannel runs deeper than multichannel sales could be one of the next in line to feel marketing because it entails more than just the force of their purchasing power, predicts an upgrade to the backend IT management consulting firm Capgemini, for one. infrastructure. ‘Connected consumers are in charge,’ Once embraced, omnichannel Capgemini declared in its 2014 ‘Cars Online: strategies often precipitate a wholesale Generation Connected’ report. ‘They are restructuring of dealers’ sales strategies confident about what they want and how they so as to embrace the online car buyer want it, secure in using technology to increase who wants to be a self-serving entity their power as car shoppers and owners, and with minimal interaction with sales staff. comfortable driving innovation in the industry.’ With this in mind, omnichannel Perspicacious manufacturers are getting wise to retail models aim at converging digital the impending disruption, readying themselves

and physical retail environments, while shifting much of the decision-making and transaction processing online. Dealerships will need to present the customer with a product appraisal experience identical to what they experienced digitally from their own online device. This could mean having only a very limited range of vehicles actually in situ, and using high-tech digital product spec and display systems for customers to study the cars they are interested in. Product genius-style agents would be on hand to explain how to use these new systems, or provide additional information – although in theory, just about everything the customer would want to know could also be accessed from their living room. In the UK, Hyundai dealer Rockar is now operating two ‘digital showrooms’ in shopping centres – one in Bluewater in Kent, and another in Westfield Stratford City in east London – allied to online purchasing. They probably exemplify the omnichannel approach most overtly so far. These sites resemble not so much car showrooms, as car stores. Before manufacturers and dealers make the huge ‘bricks and clicks’ investments necessary to bring omnichannel retailing models to market, they will want to be convinced that increased sales will justify the initial spend. Capgemini reckons it’s a nobrainer: its ‘Generation Connected’ report identified a coming wave of connected consumers who declare themselves highly willing and likely to make a car purchase entirely online. The question is: Are we ready for them?

Who is Paul Smith?

ASSA Abloy recently purchased the electronic key management software provider eTag Solutions. eTag was founded by Paul Smith, who now heads Traka Automotive, part of the ASSA Abloy Group brand Traka. 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 sales@etagsolutions.com or call 0845 225 2910

84 | CarDealerMag.co.uk


SuperUnleaded.com THE GRID

Top stories, accelerated by you...

SuperUnleaded is your new motoring service station where you choose what’s important. Like a post? #AccelerateIt up The Grid for others following in your slipstream and help set the starting line-up of timewasting content for everyone else.

Fuel for thought

Daily motoring news where you help choose what’s important. From the makers of award-winning @CarDealerMag straight out of @BlackballMedia

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NASCAR Boss Becomes First NSX Owner – For A Cool $1m

Relive Some Of Pastor Maldonado’s Greatest ‘Hits’

The new NSX is finally almost here, and it’s now a £100,000 car. Unless you’re NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick, who has just bought the very first NSX at auction for $1.2 million… Visit: sprunl.de/qgmxh

The man who’s crashed into just about everything in F1 has been the butt of jokes since he first arrived on the F1 scene in 2011. We look at his best (or worst) bits. Visit: sprunl.de/edh4y

‘Pranking’ Petter Solberg Has A Shock For Technicians

Monte Carlo Rally Crash Clips Show How Nuts Rallying Is

It’s not every day you’re taken out by a reigning WRC champion, but two Mercedes technicians were given the ride of their lives by Petter Solberg disguised as an 82-year-old. Visit: sprunl.de/jfm72

We’ve always thought that there’s something terribly wrong with rally drivers. The recent Monte Carlo Rally revealed just how crazy these people are, with a series of crashes. Visit: sprunl.de/l7kwy

Dangerous Rider Ends Up In Jail Thanks To His GoPro

Watch This Mad Lamborghini vs Mustang Drift Battle

GoPros are often hailed as the most important invention in action sport, but sometimes the clever gadgets can backfire on their owners. Spectacularly, in this case. Visit: ssprunl.de/ifiol

They’re not exactly the ideal drifters’ cars, but that didn’t stop Vaughn Gittin and Daigo Saito taking a Mustang and a Murcielago to a drift playground… Visit: sprunl.de/04lr6

This Amateur Iron Man Lifts A MINI With Exoskeleton

Cop Stops Speeding Biker, Takes Way Too Much Action

The recent glut of superhero films will make anyone wonder how cool it would be to have superpowers. YouTuber ‘Hacksmith’ doesn’t wonder – he builds. Visit: sprunl.de/nx273

When a speeding biker in Oregon got pulled over, we doubt he was expecting quite this much fuss – with the cop first driving into the back of him, then kicking him in the face… Visit: sprunl.de/5f8js CarDealerMag.co.uk | 85


HOT PROPERTY

..in association with Rapleys LLP

Storm approaching! Geoff Sayer looks at the importance of getting up-to-date reinstatement figures

L

et me use these winter months to doff my cap to some recent research confirming that the average British adult likes to talk about the weather. Over the past few months, there has been plenty to discuss, with record-breaking rainfall leading to extensive floods and damage to infrastructure and property. The Association of British Insurers has estimated payouts to policyholders following storms Desmond, Eva and Frank will come to around £1.3bn; Gertrude and Henry are only likely to add to that figure. Buildings insurance exists to guard against financial loss arising from damage or destruction caused by certain specified risks. The general premise is that the policyholder will be able to make a claim should their asset be damaged as a result of an insured risk happening. The payout

should reflect the cost of replacing the asset or making good the damage. One of the more mundane aspects of managing a property you own or rent is arranging insurance cover in case your building is destroyed. That cover is based on an estimate of the ‘reinstatement value’ of the property and commonly it will either be a figure provided by a building surveyor or the actual cost when the building was constructed. Because policies are renewed each year, very few take the opportunity to get a reinstatement valuation done again and the previous figure tends to be increased in line with inflation. That’s great, but only as long as building prices increase at the same rate – they don’t; and that there are no additional statutory hoops (eg: building regulations) to jump through – there are, and some of them can be expensive.

Whilst not as defining to the British as the weather, the notion that building costs always go up is a tendency most of us can relate to, but the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reported last autumn that building cost prices are expected to rise at between four and six per cent per annum for the next five years. That’s a potential rise of up to 34 per cent by 2021. In simple terms, a building costing £1.5m to replace today could cost £2.01m in 2021, whereas inflation at two per cent per annum over the same period would only arrive at £1.66 million, leaving the unwary policyholder more than £350,000 short. Clearly that’s a problem. However, inadequate cover is also likely to breach the terms of any mortgage on your building. By all means talk to a building surveyor about the weather, but get reinstatement figures every three years as well.

Who is Geoff Sayer?

Geoff is a Partner in the market leading Automotive & Roadside Team at Rapleys LLP. Contact by mobile: 07769 671 488 or email: grs@rapleys.co.uk

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THE FLEET.

LATEST FROM THE FLEET... Welcome: SkodaYeti Andrew Evans is in love, but it’s an expensive relationship for him!

C

ards on the table: I love the Skoda Yeti. There’s something so incredibly unassuming about it. There’s precious little by way of design for the sake of design, for a start. It’s a big, square box that has exactly enough kit, exactly enough room and drives as competently as just about any person buying a car today can reasonably need. Even though the first Yeti I drove was a ludicrously over-specced Outdoor model with the top diesel engine and the flagship Laurin & Klement specification with leather everywhere and, with options, a price tag in the £30k range, it still seemed unpretentious. We loved the Yeti so much that we considered getting a brand new one for the Evans household, and we’ve never even bought a new car. The 2.0 TDI was a little too much though, so we looked at the 1.2 TSI petrol. Imagine my face when this turned up on the Car Dealer fleet... The 148hp diesel felt quick enough, so I didn’t have any particular performance concerns

about the 108hp petrol. It turns out to be something of a leisurely machine though, ambling up to speed without any real sense of urgency – the sub-12 seconds 0-60mph time seems a little optimistic, but the DSG box shuffles through the ratios seamlessly so there’s no let-up in what acceleration it has. More problematic than how it gains speed is how it holds it. At a sensible 70mph cruise, the DSG is forever hunting for the right gear. Any change in gradient will send it scrabbling through the ratios like it’s auditioning for a Fast & Furious film. This laid-back approach to acceleration has something of an effect on the Yeti’s fuel economy too. If the 0-60mph time is optimistic, the mpg rating is hallucinatory. With the best chance given over a 600-mile run, I managed just 38mpg. I still love the Yeti but my wallet won’t take another long journey in it. Andrew Evans (@snavEwerdnA)

THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Skoda Yeti 1.2 TSI DSG SE L Price: £24,900 Engine: 1.2 TSI Power: 108hp, 175Nm Max speed: 111mph 0-62mph: 11.4 seconds Emissions: 128g/km Mpg: 51.4 (combined) Mileage this month: 1,000 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Petrol prices falling under £1/litre, so I could afford to fill it up again.

www.desperateseller.co.uk | www.facebook.com/desperateseller.co.uk | twitter.com/despseller

CarDealerMag.co.uk | 87


THE FLEET.

LATEST FROM THE FLEET... Third report:

Third report:

Fifth report:

CitroenCactus

HondaCivic Tourer

Mazda2

Maybe this distinctive car isn’t Jon Reay’s cup of tea after all...

Jonny Fleetwood’s on the move – and he needs plenty of space

Laura’s been refamiliarising herself with VU65 UAT – in traffic

I HATE eating my words. Having bleated on about the Cactus and its superb design, both inside and out, after three months my rose-tinted glasses are starting to slip a little. Gripe number one: the penny-pinching goes too far. Picture the scene: it’s dark. Your takeaway Nandos for one (don’t judge) is on the back seat. You open the door to retrieve it and… darkness, because there’s no rear interior light; leaving you ill-equipped to locate that ever-elusive runaway corn on the cob. Similarly, Citroen has left out one-touch electric windows – I mean this sort of thing sounds insignificant, but it quickly gets irritating when you have to swipe in and out of a car park every working day. Gripe number two isn’t cost-related so much as just daft design: the lack of cupholders. Citroen has been kind enough to mould one into the centre console, and it’s the perfect size for the takeaway cafe au lait from a Parisian coffee shop, but not much else. Can of coke? Red Bull? Evian? Look forward to balancing that between your legs as you barrel up the M1. With that said, having used the Cactus to faithfully ferry us around on a couple of video shoots this month, we did eventually find another place to store any hot drinks (above). True, you do have to leave the boot open, but never let it be said that the French do things conventionally… Jon Reay (@jonreay)

IT’S been a while since I last drove the Civic, but with a shoot in the Cotswolds requiring lots of equipment, it was the logical choice. The magic seats are really useful when not transporting passengers, freeing up huge amounts of extra storage without having to fold down the rear seats. They are particularly handy if the boot is filled with expensive camera equipment that needs to stay hidden from prying eyes. Larger, less interesting items such as stepladders and discreetly-packed light stands slide in with ease – no-one will break in for those… Once again, I need to mention the benefits of the drop floor in the boot – it revolutionises packing. Items of less strategic importance go in the lower section while important stuff sits flat on the top, ready to go. At the expense of a spare wheel, the advantages could be seen as a doubleedged sword but since removal of the spare is becoming more and more common, it’s at least a very good use of the now-vacant space. Overall I have nothing particularly negative to say about the Civic. At a push, I would have to mention the high driving position that no amount of seat adjustment can resolve is a little uncomfortable for taller drivers. There is also a slight overload of information from the multitude of different screens and dials; the spread of which is a little too wide to take in in one glance; a little like being the cockpit of a plane. Jonny Fleetwood (@jfleetwoodphoto)

HAVING spent a significant amount of time in the company of the Mazda2 in the latter part of last year, coming back to it should really have been a walk in the park. So when I jumped in on a dark and rainy evening in January, it was a surprise to find that I didn’t know VU65 UAT quite as well as I thought. Where was that elusive start button? Weren’t the headlights automatic? After a few minutes of fiddling, we were off. Straight into a traffic jam. With a 115-mile drive ahead of me the next day, I thought I’d get an early start and miss the traffic. Of course, drowsy me had other ideas, and seven alarm soundings and a sunrise later I finally awoke. After a mad rush out of the door, I was on the road. The satnav claimed the route would take 2hrs 50 minutes, I had 2hrs 20 minutes. The Mazda’s frugal nature saw it use barely any fuel on the way to Silverstone, despite hitting rush-hour on both the M27 and M3. The stop-start, however, was more foe than friend, cutting the engine at vital moments and no doubt causing endless annoyance to the gasguzzlers behind me. Arriving at Silverstone just a few minutes after nine, I rejoiced. Either the Mazda’s powerful engine (doubtful) or its over-exaggerating satnav meant that I had arrived just in time for a day on track in some (somewhat) faster cars. Laura Thomson (@lauramayrafiki)

THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Citroen C4 Cactus Flair 1.6 BlueHDI 100 Price: £18,765 Engine: 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel Power: 97bhp Max speed: 114mph 0-62mph: 10.7 seconds Emissions: 89g/km Mpg: 83.1mpg Mileage this month: 4,723 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Finding creative ways to bypass the Cactus’s lack of drinks storage. 88 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Civic Tourer 1.6i-DTEC SR Price: £24,940 Engine: 1.6i-DTEC Power: 120bhp, 300Nm Max speed: 121mph 0-62mph: 10.5s Emissions: 103g/km Mpg: 55 (combined) Mileage this month: 1,446 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Dead easy to get loads of camera gear to a busy photoshoot in Gloucestershire.

THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Mazda 2 1.5D SE-L Nav Price: £16,395 Engine: 1.5-litre turbodiesel Power: 104bhp Max speed: 111mph 0-60mph: 10.1sec Emissions: 89g/km Mpg: 83.1 (combined) Mileage this month: 977 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Retaining a healthy fuel consumption figure, even with a heavy right foot on the motorway.


LONGTERMERS

Fifth report:

Seventh report:

Farewell:

RenaultTwingo

Ford FocusST

MitsubishiL200

Is Car Dealer Dave too old for this city car? Not a bit of it!

Avoiding motorway mayhem, boss James goes cross-country

John Bowman says goodbye to a ‘big, beefy, beauty’. Easy, tiger!

‘I THOUGHT it belonged to one of Lucy’s friends.’ With that slightly catty remark, my elderly neighbour delivered his verdict on HY65RJJ – and he had a point I suppose. With its compact size and funky paint job, the car does look as though the keys should belong to someone younger than yours truly – such as a mate of my 23-year-old daughter, for example. I let his comment pass though. I like the Twingo a lot – and I’m not afraid to say it. Although many of my colleagues live a long way from Car Dealer Towers, I’m just a stone’s throw from the office. My seven-mile hop to work is punctuated by various sets of roadworks as well as the usual array of traffic lights and roundabouts – and the Twingo makes light of everything in its path. In other words, as a small car, the Twingo is ideally suited to short trips and city-style environments – and that’s not particularly surprising. But there’s far more to it than that. For instance, the levels of technology are genuinely impressive. Although our car doesn’t have the R-LINK Evolution system, you still have everything you need to keep in touch with the outside world with a Bluetooth hands-free telephone, phone holder and a pair of useful USB sockets. Higher-spec Twingos even get a large touch-screen that can be used for viewing photos and videos. Not something I’m likely to do, but my daughter and her friends probably would. Dave Brown (@CarDealerDave)

WITH fast Fords taking pride of place on our cover this month and most talk in the office being around just how good the four-wheel drive, drift-crazy Focus RS is, some people seem to have forgetten about the ST. When a faster, more desirable version comes out, the older model can often get nudged into the shadows, so this month I decided to reacquaint myself with our long termer properly. A series of new year meetings required a comfortable, entertaining companion and the Ford fitted the bill perfectly. Waking early for an appointment up north (as everything is from Gosport), I checked the traffic only to see the M27 and M3 were jammed solid. So instead I opted for the slightly longer but perfectly ST-suited cross-country route. And what a drive it was. Roads slightly damp, heated seats blasting away, I enjoyed stretching the ST’s turbocharged 2.0-litre engine. This Ford really is utterly brilliant – and I got to my meeting with an almighty smile on my face and 20 minutes quicker than I would have done had I opted for the boring, wait-in-line motorway option. Result. By all accounts the RS is utterly brilliant too, but for those hot hatch fans with slightly shallower pockets it’s worth pointing out the ST is in no way a poor man’s choice. That said, I still can’t wait to get my hands on our cover star. Bring on Road Test of the Year… James Baggott (@CarDealerEd)

TRUNDLING along the A34, having not been behind the wheel of an L200 for many months, it felt good to be reminded just why this pick-up has achieved its iconic status. True, I wasn’t going to be making many friends in the Green Party, with the miles-per-gallon hovering in the mid-20s, but let’s be honest, nobody buys an L200 with saving the planet foremost in their mind. They buy one because they need something meaty, something that does the business as they go about their heavy-duty, manual tasks, something that needs power and bulk – and power and bulk need fuel. In short, it’s a no-nonsense king of the road. And that’s exactly how I felt with that commanding view from the cab. However, the really surprising thing for me about this big, beefy beauty is how comfortable it is to be in and how effortless it is to drive. Not for nothing has the latest model been likened to a premium, executive motor more than a pick-up, and cruising along the dual carriageway, I felt as if I was heading to a highpowered corporate pow-wow when a building site would probably have been more appropriate. The L200 has tackled all sorts of road conditions without a second thought, and it’s going to be much missed, I know, by a fair few among the Blackball Media team. John Bowman (john@blackballmedia.co.uk)

THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Renault Twingo Dynamique S Energy TCe 90 Price: £12,545 Engine: 0.9-litre petrol Power: 98bhp Max speed: 103mph 0-60mph: 10.6sec Emissions: 99g/km Mpg: 65.7 (combined) Mileage this month: 783 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Turning on a sixpence to park in the tightest spots.

THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Ford Focus ST-3 5-door Price: £27,730 Engine: 2.0-litre 6-speed manual Power: 247bhp Max speed: 154mph 0-62mph: 6.5sec Emissions: 159g/km Mpg: 41.5 (combined) Mileage this month: 1,503 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Remembering just how accomplished our ST long-termer is.

THE KNOWLEDGE Model: Mitsubishi L200 Warrior Double Cab (manual) Price: £27,658 (commercial vehicle list price, excluding VAT, is £23,049) Engine: 2.4 litre MIVEC diesel Power: 178 bhp Max Speed: 111 mph 0-60mph: 10.3s Emissions: 173g/km Mileage this month: 223 THIS MONTH’S HIGHLIGHT Enjoying comfortable, effortless motoring. CarDealerMag.co.uk | 89


BAGGOTT.

I

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The friends who seek advice, then do their own thing anyway...

’m sure you have the same problem as I do. When people know you as a ‘car man’ they seem to ask you all sorts of ridiculous questions – and more often than not, follow that up by completely ignoring any advice you give them. It usually goes something along the lines of this, my latest ignored advice session. Phone rings and it’s a mate in a panic. His car’s blown up, he needs a new one urgently – what do I recommend? Well, apart from getting away from aforementioned exploding car, I tell him I’ll need a little more detail as to what he wants first. Turns out, as I’m a car man, he assumes I know absolutely everything about absolutely every car on the road. ‘My road’s really tight with one of those turnaround thingys at the end,’ he says. A roundabout? A maypole? I need specifics, man. ‘You know – one of those kind of round bits at the end of the cul-de-sac where you have to turn around all the time,’ he adds, frankly baffling me as to why anyone would start a car purchase with this criteria, and more importantly why he thought I was the best place to turn to before Google. He went on. ‘Well I need a car that can spin around in the turny thingy without me having to put it in reverse, because that’s just annoying.’ This was the first I’d heard of my mate getting annoyed with reverse gear and something that, quite honestly, I could have quizzed him about for hours, but thought better of it as he was obviously in a tizz. ‘So that’s what I want – what do you recommend?’ It was at this point that I realised this phone call was going to take up far more time than I had budgeted for when I picked up. The invite to the pub hadn’t arrived yet, and at this rate, wasn’t coming any time soon. My usual response in these circumstances defaults to a Volkswagen Golf but, thanks to recent news events, that Ctrl+V reply has been removed from my armoury, so this time I really did have to think. I told him I needed a bit more information before I could narrow down his search criteria, which was currently only throwing up a London Taxi in my mind’s car database of good turning circle cars, and that came with a whole new world of other reasons not to buy it, the most important of which was the fact that it’s a sodding taxi. ‘Well I’ve got to get the kids in it, I don’t want one of them 4x4 things and it needs to be good on fuel because I do a lot of miles,’ added my friend, who was rapidly talking himself out of that position. After a bit more quizzing I discovered he wanted a CD

Who is James Baggott?

James Baggott

AGAINST OUR BETTER JUDGMENT, WE GIVE OUR MD THE LAST WORD EACH MONTH

player – to which I told him this was 2016, not 1992 – and he wanted it to be ‘reliable’, and not cost ‘a fortune’. How he hadn’t managed to find an option with this incredibly detailed and specific list of requirements is beyond me, but still we pressed on. It was at this point I started to say random car names at him which, considering he knew just about which side of the car to find a steering wheel, but only because he checked when he opened the door every time, was frankly like speaking Russian to him. It went something like this: What about a Kia Cee’d? What’s that? A Hyundai i30? What’s that? A Ford Fiesta? A what? I was fighting a losing battle, not only with soon-to-be-ablocked-number-in-my-phone mate but with a list of cars that might just fit his requirements. None of which I knew any specifics about their turning circles but was receommending them anyway. It was at this point he uttered the most ridiculous words yet: What about a Vauxhall Meriva? I told

‘It was at this point I started to say random car names at him.’ him that was like asking me if I could recommend an STD, and that if he was going to avoid anything, avoid that. He thanked me for my advice and told me he’d give me a call when he had ‘some options’. Breathing a sigh of relief, I moved on, with an insight into the world of car buyers who know nothing about cars changing my life forever. Two days later he rang again. ‘I’ve bought it,’ he said with such excitement that only someone who’d just picked up the keys to their dream car could muster. It was at this point I should have seen it coming. Surely he couldn’t have been so stupid? ‘I went for the Meriva,’ he said. And those were the last words I ever heard from my ‘friend’. Fortunately, I did learn something from the whole sorry saga. Which is, that no matter what you recommend as a ‘car guy’, no one will ever, ever, ever listen to a word you say. So instead just tell them to buy the best car in the world. Which, thanks to 1,500 miles to Switzerland and back last month, I can confirm is the utterly brilliant Range Rover. If they can’t afford one just tell them to walk, because I can assure you there is simply no point in recommending anything else.

He’s the founder of Car Dealer Magazine and managing director of parent company @BlackballMedia, an automotive services provider. He now spends most of his time on Twitter @CarDealerEd and annoying the rest of us. 90 | CarDealerMag.co.uk

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Car Dealer Magazine: Issue 96  
Car Dealer Magazine: Issue 96