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Free legal advice, new benefits – full details inside .com | £3.50

Issue 68 | November 2013








Our Dealer Management System will soon have your business ďŹ ring on all cylinders

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Join Car Dealer Club by visiting Members get free legal advice worth £195 for a £39.99 subscription

Blackball Media. 23 Haslar Marine Technology Park, Haslar Road, Gosport PO12 2AG T: (023) 9252 2434 W:

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EDITORIAL EDITOR James Batchelor Twitter: @JRRBatchelor

STAFF WRITER Jon Reay Twitter: @JonReay

STAFF WRITER Sophie Williamson-Stothert Twitter: @1Sophie_W

head of design Graeme Windell

ADVERTISING ADVERTISING Manager Duncan Chappell Twitter: @CarDealerDunc

Advertising EXECUTIVE Cliff Culver Twitter: @CarDealerCliff

CREDIT CONTROL & ADMINISTRATOR Pippa Marsden Twitter: @CarDealerPip

SUITS MANAGING DIRECTOR James Baggott Twitter: @CarDealerEd

OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Andy Entwistle Twitter: @CarDealerAndy

Contributors James Litton, Tim Naylor, Tim Heavisides, Jonathan Such, Dave Brown, Gareth Bethell, Mal Hay, Leon Poultney, Daljinder Nagra, Diana Hargreaves, and John Bowman.


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Car Dealer is published by Blackball Media Ltd (Company No 6473855) and printed by Warners. All rights reserved. Conditions of sale and supply include the fact Car Dealer shall not, without our consent, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise disposed of in a mutilated way or in any unauthorised cover by way of trade or affixed to or as any part of a publication or advertising, literary or pictorial matter whatsoever. Car Dealer is fully protected by copyright. Nothing may be reproduced wholly or in part without permission.

years ago I turned Welcome. THREE up on the doorstep of Car Dealer Magazine’s very first office with a brand new notebook, a pen and a wallet full of money to buy the tea. It was the very same day that the cars for Road Test of the Year 2010 arrived. First there was the Aston Rapide, then the Porsche Boxster Spyder, followed by the Audi R8 V10 Spyder, the Megane RS and Peugeot RCZ. I remember being transfixed by the Aston’s beauty and I frothed at the mouth just sitting in the passenger seat. That’s why Road Test of the Year has always meant a lot to me — and no year has been more exciting to be a part of than 2013. This year we wanted our favourite feature (the acronym is RTOTY if you’re interested) to be the very best. We hit the phones and tapped out emails to book in the finest cars, and I don’t think you will be disappointed. Once again we went to Wales, and putting aside the suicidal sheep and the dreadful sandwiches stocked by its service stations, it really is one of the best places in the UK to experience these machines. You’ve already got a snifter of what you can expect to find later on in the mag because of the fabulous cover photo (frankly because I’m in it) our snapper Max Earey took. And this was despite the fact that within five minutes of meeting us at the agreed location, Max had a serious injury. Jumping down from the doorsill of his Seat Leon — a

drop of no more than a couple of feet — he hurt his leg. Within 10 minutes it had swollen to the size of an elephant’s and he was hobbling around all day. It’s a miracle he managed to take the shots he did — and we all wish him a speedy recovery. Turn to p64 to see Max’s handiwork and some words we have bashed out about the cars. CHANGES Car Dealer Club has been a great success since we launched it a couple of years ago. It has grown a loyal fan base of dealers anxious to take advantage of the exclusive discounts from trade suppliers on offer. But now we have given it a massive make-over. Think of Anne Robinson’s facelift and you wouldn’t be too far wrong. The cracking £195-worth of free legal advice is still present but there are nine new special discounts on offer. And, when you sign up for just £39.99 you get a 12-month subscription to the magazine as well. Flick to p8 to find out more. This month it also gives me great pleasure to welcome a new member to the advertising team ­— Cliff Culver. He likes cars and he likes to have a laugh — two mandatory qualifications for a job at Car Dealer! Enjoy the issue.

James Batchelor, editor

Winner: Best Business ‘This magazine brings its readers an insightful, engaging overview of their industry which Publication of the Year entertains as well as informs’ - award judges | 03

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Join Car Dealer Club by visiting Members get free legal advice worth £195 for a £39.99 subscription

INSIDE. ISSUE 68 I november 2013


07 Car Dealer Club 08 Proton: What’s gone wrong? 18 Stars of the Frankfurt Motor Show 24 Top 10 MOT Failers 45 Dealer Extremes 46 Big Mike 53 Baggott 55 Real Deals 57 Car Dealer Forum


This year’s finest cars

Seven cars, two days and countless tanks of unleaded, it’s Road Test of the Year 2013 – our celebration of the best cars currently on sale

59 Forecourt Infiniti Q50

Audi S3 Sportback Citroen Grand C4 Picasso



Driven: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso


Tested: Infiniti’s car to take on BMW’s 3 Series


We’ve been hanging on, waiting for new product – but it just hasn’t arrived. Proton: What’s gone wrong?

Which cars are most likely to fail their first MOT?








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The only awards that celebrate CarDealer the usedEWARDS car industry. Nominate yourself or others now by 2013 turning to p31 for more details or log onto


Umesh Samani

Road Test of the Year 2013 Focus on: IMI Focus on: HPI Focus on: Wurth

62 64 86 89 90

Data File

94 Taking Stock & Buyers’ Guide 96 Commercials 98 Auctions 101 Trader Talk 102 On Track 103 Motor Mouth 104 Crystal Clear 105 Front Runner 106 Suppliers’ Guide & Trader Directory 108 Workshops 110 Long-termers 112 USED Time IsAWARDS Money 114 CAR The Statistics





2013 WINNER ea arD le



As voted forCarDealer by dealers, Car CarDealer USED POWER Dealer Power awards are AWARDS CAR completely unique in the back industry. For awards 2013 WINNER 2013 WINNER issues call (023) 9252 2434







Full Club benefits explained

59 60 61


All suppliers to Car Dealer Club are approved by us. Learn more about the exclusive benefits of becoming a member by flicking to p8 for details | 05

Good warranties make the world go round. And your customers come back for more. In the past 12 months, Car Care Plan has paid out over 250,000 claims – no fuss, no delay. Small wonder we help more dealers to make more profits than anyone else. Find out how easy it is to switch to us. Call 0844 573 7591 or visit

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Car Care Plan Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

feedback. Your comments via email at

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On Twitter: Follow @CarDealerMag


Join in the conversation

Sign up to our new forum and chat about the motoring topics that are affecting you


ar Dealer is making it easier than ever before to chat about the industry we all love – the motor trade. We’ve created the Car Dealer Forum which will allow us to chat to you in an informal environment and allow you to share your news, views and opinions with us and your colleagues. It’s very easy to sign up – simply tap www. into a web browser and click ‘Sign up’ in the top righthand corner. Enter your name and email address and come up with a jazzy username that you’d like to be known by on the site. If you wish you can give yourself a unique ‘avatar’ – a little picture that goes alongside all of your posts – and you can enter your Twitter, Facebook and other social media details to help find you new followers and friends. Creating a new post couldn’t be easier either – just follow the simple instructions. But the best feature about the new forum is how it integrates with our website. When you’re reading a news story on our site you’ll now notice a ‘Comment on this story’ box at the bottom of the page. Click it and it’ll create a new post on our forum, allowing you and others to comment and chat about the post. Found a topic you want to track the progress of? Hit ‘Follow this topic’ to receive a notification when someone posts in that thread. You can post topics and replies either directly into the forums, or by using the handy link at the bottom of any of

the news stories on our website. And like the best forums on the internet, the Car Dealer Forum is completely open. It means you can share your opinions and thoughts on issues within the motor industry, or simply have a natter about any subject you fancy! But if you have some serious subjects on your mind, you can voice them in this like-minded environment too. So who will be using the forum? Well, it’ll be people in the motor trade – from independent dealers to dealer groups, suppliers and manufacturers, there will be a great variety of

opinion on issues important to the industry. We want as much involvement from our readers as possible and encourage free thought. Log on now and get involved.

Customer falls for my fake Essex impersonation AFTER reading your last issue with the feature on that TV programme The Dealership, I thought you’d appreciate my story. A couple of weeks ago I was on the forecourt with two of the salesmen. We were talking about the show and I was doing my best impression of the main character, James. Harmless fun. I saw a girl looking at the Golf GTI on the front, I said ‘watch this’ and walked over to her. ‘Aww-ite darling, wanna take me for a little spin in it do ya? Haha!’. I opened and closed the door and said, ‘Listen, it even sounds like a Golf’.

Watching my colleagues as they fell about laughing, I carried on with the act, thinking that she would just say the usual ‘I’m just looking thanks’ and I’d walk away. Using all the lines like, ‘The paperwork is phenomenal’ and ‘You ain’t gonna find one better my babes’. I was laying it on thick and getting lots of laughs from my colleagues in the background. Oblivious to what was going on, the girl said, ‘OK, I want it’.



What followed was the most embarrassing hour of my life. My colleagues had made the rest of the dealership aware of my situation and got pretty much everyone within earshot of my desk. I had to carry on with the act as I did all the paperwork and negotiating. After she had gone, I got a round of applause from the guys and a ‘proper rinsin’ from my guv’nor. He was well not ‘appy, mate’. My confession isn’t to my boss or The Dealership, but to the poor girl that had to put up with my acting and sit there with everyone watching. Sorry my babes! DF, Leeds | 07


Why our free legal advice can get you out of hot water Car Dealer Club is bursting with offers – but the best is free legal advice worth £195. Read on to find out why you need it


t’s an often-used saying but with Car Dealer Club help really is just a phone call away. When things turn ugly between a dealer and a customer, help can often be a timely and costly venture – that’s not to mention those customers making unreasonable demands and spouting out Trading Standards laws and the Sale of Goods Act. But thanks to Car Dealer teaming up with automotive law specialists Lawgistics, Car Dealer Club members can take advantage of free legal assistance worth £195. It’s there as a helping hand. When you sign up as a member of Car Dealer Club for just £39.99 you will receive a full year’s subscription to Car Dealer Magazine, as well as access to a range of bespoke offers and discounts from leading automotive suppliers. But the biggest bonus is the free legal advice. As part of your membership you will have a free telephone consultation with Lawgistics worth £100 – perfect to sort out a particularly ugly situation with a customer or to simply put your mind at ease. You will also be signed up to Lawgistics’ basic membership package worth £95, have a 25 per cent discount off

Lawgistics’ legal workshops, get access to guidance notes and document templates and the ability to upgrade your membership to better suit your needs if you need to. It’s a cracking offer and one that has seen hundreds of dealers right across the UK sign up to our Club. ‘For Car Dealer Club members they have a first port of call – something that’s hugely beneficial,’ says Lawgistics’ director of legal services, Dennis Chapman. But what can you contact Lawgistics about? ‘Anything,’ says Chapman. ‘In the past, Car Dealer Club members have contacted us on a broad spectrum of issues. Most of these been surrounding the Sale of Goods Act – this is the main issue facing dealers at the moment – what are the rights for consumers when they are buying a car? What remedies are there when something goes wrong with a consumer’s car in the short or long term? But there

have been hundreds of other issues too.’ With customers feeling as empowered as ever, now really is the time to partner with a legal team such as Lawgistics. ‘Customer expectations have never been so high,’ explains Chapman. ‘That’s not just the case for new cars but for used cars as well. Customers are increasingly thinking of an older vehicle as a new car. ‘We live in a blame culture, no doubt fuelled by the media. This culture may grow in the future but what we are increasingly trying to do is try and put some information back out there to balance the situation and empower dealers. ‘It’s important to work with a company like ours because we can help you step back and give a balanced view on the situation. The service is here to help you and to give you peace of mind. If that’s all you want from us that’s perfectly fine – but if you want any further help we’re here on hand.’ And finally, why should you join Car Dealer Club? Over to Chapman: ‘Simple: It’s extremely good value and could save you a large amount of money in the long run.’


App Creatives 08 |


Blackball Media



Loop Fobs

why they joined car dealer club I ACTUALLY joined Car Dealer Club not specifically for the legal help but for the year’s subscription to Car Dealer Magazine. But I soon realised how beneficial the £195-worth of legal advice was when I had to apply for a new credit licence. This has never really been a problem, but with the new rules coming into effect, I needed some advice on how to apply for my Consumer Credit Licence – and that’s when I picked up the phone to Lawgistics. They immediately put my mind at ease and gave me the help I

needed to complete the application. In fact, I was so impressed with the way they helped me, I’ve upgraded to the full membership. I now have access to the full services on offer which includes HR help. If you’re not a Car Dealer Club member, I’d strongly recommend you becoming one. The range of offers is fantastic and the team at Lawgistics are straight-talking and helpful. For £39.99 it is a no brainer! Guy Prince Managing director, The Car Loan Warehouse

CAR Dealer Club is very good value for money and offers a great service with the number and variety of tools it offers. We joined the Car Dealer Club because I thought it was a worthwhile investment for the business, and a good thing to be a part of. We haven’t used the free advice from Lawgistics as much as some dealers may need to, but we have in the past and it’s always good to know you have a second pair of ears to bend when you have a problem. It’s about

having that reassurance that you can speak to someone at the end of the telephone who can offer some real help that is really appealing. I wouldn’t think twice about recommending Car Dealer Club. In fact, I think it’s a service you’d be crazy not to sign up to! The exclusive offers and the simple fact that you get a free 12month subscription to Car Dealer seals the deal in my mind! Jacob Whittaker Sales manager, Andrews Auto Parcs Ltd


‘For £39.99 it is a nobrainer!’


EASY STEPS TO JOIN car dealer club


£100 discount (normally £595) off its small business package – perfect for sole traders, a partnership or a small dealer group – and £250 off (normally £1,295) its professional package. 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.

Scan the QR code





WANT TO UPGRADE YOUR MEMBERSHIP? 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 extra firepower, and the good news is that Club members receive discounts on Lawgistics’ other packages. You’ll receive a







£1,000s AND ALL for just £39.99


AMS - GAP Insurance


Dragon2000 | 09


AMS - GAP Insurance

Big boys show how it’s done offer: A raft of exclusive offers: Free GAP policies, a free iPad Mini and free 30-day GAP Plus policies WORKING with the big guys always looks good to your customers – and especially so when it comes to selling insurance products. Big names equal trust in customers’ eyes – and with Car Dealer Club you could be offering products designed by one of the biggest names in the business to your customers. AMS is a major supplier of GAP and credit insurance to car dealers such as Peter Vardy, The John Clark Motor Group and Sandicliffe. It is one of the biggest players in the market and a firm which you should be talking to. It has some of the most innovative products in the business, and has a wideranging portfolio which includes its unique Asset Secure GAP products (arguably the most comprehensive in the industry), warranties, and tyre and MOT insurance. And it has an absolutely cracking offer for Car Dealer Club members. When you sign up you’ll be able to take advantage of free GAP policies – AMS will provide 10 per cent of all annual Car Dealer Club Members’ GAP policies. It’ll also give you a free iPad Mini so that you can reward an employee who sells the most AMS GAP policies over the next 12 months. That’s not forgetting AMS will also give away free 30-day GAP Plus policies too. Suitable for any customer who does not buy a GAP policy at the time of purchasing a car, AMS will then follow up the customer before expiry of the free GAP policy to offer them a full-term GAP policy of their choice. AMS will pay the dealer a pre-agreed commission on all such sales. It’s a great package!


Blackball Media

It’s not a case of trial and error

Your showroom in the spotlight

offer: Take advantage of a 30day free trial of Autotrade-mail followed by another month free WOULDN’T it be great if you could try something out before you signed on the dotted line? That’s even more the case when it comes to remarketing and acquiring stock. The last thing you want to find yourself doing is signing up to an expensive platform that delivers little in terms of business. But this isn’t the case for Car Dealer Club members, thanks to a great special offer with Autotrade-mail – the UK’s leading online ‘real time’ used car trading platform. The service, which sends highly-qualified, legitimate leads to car dealers, is wellloved in the industry – not only for its ease of use but because of its friendly team of operatives. Users set up alerts for the vehicles they’re interested in buying – specifying makes, models, engine sizes and much more – for their stock. From there, the website sends out alerts to subscribing dealers of any matching vehicles the very instant that they’re advertised on the site – either by email or by the firm’s innovative toolbar – and dealers can make an offer there and then. If it’s accepted you needn’t worry about collection or delivery. The vehicle can be dropped off to your door for the ultimate convenience. Subscribers get a 14-day trial but Car Dealer Club members get an exclusive trial of 30 days followed by another one month FREE. That’s approximately 60 days compared to the normal 14! It means Club members can not only be buying and selling stock for free for longer, but they can really get to grips with the system before they fully sign up.

offer: Get a £250 discount on a two-man film crew and an editor for your bespoke video THE world’s second-largest search engine is, believe it or not, YouTube – owned, of course, by the market leader in the business, Google. If there was one fact which proved how seriously you now need to take video, it would be this. But where do you start? The web is awash with videos of new models from magazines to bloggers. And the really glossy car porn is usually best left to the manufacturers. So how can dealers of all sizes compete? Well, quite easily – and Blackball Media can help. The parent company of Car Dealer Magazine has a rapidly expanding video department that has produced videos for companies including Nissan, Mitsubishi, Skoda, Suzuki, Mazda, and These videos have ranged from full newcar model showcases to top tips, advice pieces and company introductions, the latter of which Blackball Media is producing for a number of car dealer groups and dealerships – of which yours could be next! Our special Car Dealer Club offer will see members get a two-to-three-minute video introduction to their company filmed on location at their dealership. With beautiful scene-setting shots of the showroom and site, interviews with the team and opening and end graphics, these videos are perfect for embedding on your website. Usually these cost £1,000, but Car Dealer Club members will get access to two film crew and an editor for just £750. Members need to quote the unique code in the Car Dealer Club welcome pack when booking on (023) 9252 2434. For information or some examples of Blackball Media’s work email

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To join Car Dealer Club go to or scan the QR code



Be wise with your warranty offer: Upgrade a three-month warranty to six months for free. You can do this five times a year Giving the right warranty to your customer is a tricky business – but one that gets a whole lot easier when you’re a Car Dealer Club member. It’s common knowledge that selling your customers the right warranty for their needs doesn’t make just good business sense, but, most importantly, it gives real peace of mind. And there are few companies in the marketplace as dedicated to you and your customers as Warrantywise. The familyowned firm has been trading for more than two decades and specialises in offering the best warranties in the business. It has teamed up with the motoring journalist and broadcaster Quentin Willson to make compelling propositions, and Warrantywise can count high-end dealers Sytner, Amari, Tom Hartley and Graypaul as happy customers. That’s not to mention the hundreds of dealers right across the country who will gladly sing Warrantywise’s praises. Its warranties cover areas such as unlimited repairs, parts replaced in pairs, car hire, recovery and there’s no inconsequential damage and no excess. Warrantywise works hard with dealers to give the best levels of customer service – and, as such, goes the extra mile with its warranties. And Car Dealer Club members get an even better deal that’s totally exclusive and will make their customers’ smiles even broader. Any member who sells a threemonth warranty to a customer can upgrade it to six months totally free. Members can do this five times per year, allowing them a great chance to close that tricky deal or reward their most loyal customers.


Say yes to the dragon’s deal offer: Save a very generous 10 per cent on your first year’s DMS software costs MAKING sure your dealership is running as smoothly and as profitably as possible has never been so easy. With a large range of products and services around, knowing how your business is performing is the goal of any car dealer. But if you don’t know where to turn, Car Dealer Club’s partnership with dealer management system provider Dragon2000 could help. The company’s dealer management system (DMS) is one of the most versatile and easy-to-use car sales and marketing platforms for dealers currently on the market. Dealers can take advantage of the clever vehicle stock overview – of cars in stock, reserved and sold – for up-to the-minute accounting and stock control. A VRM lookup facility allows dealers to create a used car record, meaning they can keep track of their used car inventories. And if you want to add further details such as customer and supplier details, this can be added too thanks to a postcode lookup tool. Need to keep on top of your costs? Dragon2000’s software easily manages this too. Margin and qualifying VAT calculations, reconditioning costs, warranties and write-downs are a simple affair with Dragon2000, as is the process of tracking the performance of your sales team. That’s not forgetting an integrated activity log, a clever advertising tool and a CAP valuation facility. The really great news is that there’s never been a better time to make your business as efficient as possible, as Car Dealer Club members receive a 10 per cent discount on their first year’s software costs.


Simple and easy protection offer: Sign up for a 12-month HPI subscription and get the first three months for free YOU will be all too well aware of the risks of buying dodgy cars and the effects it can have on you and your customers. But you needn’t tread that precarious path any longer with companies such as HPI around – and this is even more the case when you’re a Car Dealer Club member. You probably know HPI for its famous Check product. It has been giving dealers and customers peace of mind since 1938 and is one of the most trusted service providers around. But these days the company is about so much more than that. HPI now has a suite of products and services which are designed to make your business as profitable and as transparent as possible. Along with the HPI Check, there’s mileage, valuation, history and security products designed to protect your business. Need to reach new customers? HPI can offer you dealer exchange and customer lead services, while if it’s speeding up your services that you’re after, HPI can give you its Finance Gateway and Driveaway insurance products. HPI also has a number of products which have been especially designed to look after your customers – something which can all too often be overlooked – such as database cleansing, vehicle identification and much more. To use HPI’s services and integrate them with your business, you will need to subscribe – something which gets even sweeter for Car Dealer Club members. That’s because when new members sign up for a 12-month contract, they get their first three months free – that equates to a very generous 25 per cent discount. | 11


To join Car Dealer Club go to or scan the QR code


Loop Fobs


App Creatives

Now it’s easier to stay in the loop

Get your box of tasty treats

Make every day an appy day

offer: Receive Moneybarn’s award-winning ‘Finance Marketing in a Box’, worth £1,000-plus, free

offer: Get 10 per cent off App Creative’s development costs for your exclusive app

offer: Purchase your Loop Fobs with us and get a 10 per cent discount off your order THE internet may be a great tool when it comes to promoting your business, but there are other more traditional ways which can still make your business look great, but come at a fraction of the cost. Meet Loop Fobs. It’s one of the leaders in the promotions sector, producing highquality key loop fobs for businesses across all industries – and Car Dealer Club members get a special discount too. Like most innovative products, Loop Fob was born from a great idea. Former Pro/Am 125cc Motorcycle Champion Alex Bedford created the Loop Fob in 1997 when trying to design a keyring that would not damage or scratch the paintwork on motorcycle tanks. In 2003, Loop Fobs added the Mini and Jumbo Loop Fobs to the range and also produces printed lanyards and wristbands, giving customers even more choice for their promotions. Based in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, the team produce their products using only UKsourced materials, and have a simple design process on their website allowing you to personalise your fobs. The company’s products are a very costeffective way to get your dealership name and business out there to the general public. As a giveaway in a goody bag in a shopping centre or as a free gift to a customer at the time of purchase, using a Loop Fob makes your name memorable. That’s not to forget key storage either. Loop Fob products can make losing car keys a thing of the past and are a cheap way of making sure keys don’t go wandering. Car Dealer Club members get an exclusive 10 per cent off any order with Loop Fobs.

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GRABBING customers’ attentions with great finance deals is a difficult job – but not when you’re a Car Dealer Club member. Car Dealer Club has teamed up with the UK’s leading provider of specialist consumer car finance, Moneybarn, to create attentiongrabbing exclusive benefits. Heard of it before? You probably have as it has leagues of happy dealer clients across the UK and 20 years of experience in the business as it was formerly known as Duncton. Because of this experience in knowing how dealers and dealerships work, Moneybarn is one of the most creative when it comes to dealership marketing and getting the customer asking about finance. In fact, Moneybarn provides awardwinning marketing and point-of-sale products for dealers that make selling nonprime finance in the dealership easy. And, as an example of its handiwork, the firm was the winner of Best Marketing Campaign 2012 at the F&I Conference and Awards. Normally worth more than £1,000, Car Dealer Club members get Moneybarn’s finest advertising material totally free. Every Car Dealer Club member will receive Moneybarn’s award-winning ‘Finance Marketing in A Box’ – the one-stop shop for your marketing needs. Inside you’ll find brochures, flyers, umbrellas, car stickers, pricing visor boards, children’s activity books and giveaway products. Or, in other words, everything you need to get your customers into the showroom and asking about competitive finance – and signing on the dotted line for their new wheels.

WANT to create your own mobile app but don’t know where to start? Fear not, as you can work with the app development company that has created Car Dealer Magazine’s successful apps. App Creatives is the name behind the highly-esteemed Car Dealer iPhone and iPad apps. The firm is an expert in app design and development, and while it’s relatively new in the business, it’s got a large presence and a band of happy dealer clients. But it’s not just Car Dealer Magazine the company has worked with. App Creatives has created stunning apps for the likes of Car Giant, Marshall, Bristol Street Motors, Glass’s and many others And the latest product the firm is really excited about is its AutoApp. It cleverly allows every dealer to have their own individual app that can be tailor-made thanks to a number of customisable options. But if you fancy something a little more bespoke and fitting to your business’s requirements, the company’s team of specialist developers will sit down with you to work out your needs. They will then work with you on every step of the process developing your app, fine-tuning it so it’s the best it can be. More and more customers are searching through dealer websites while on the move, and by offering them a mobile app, you’re helping them choose you above your rivals. And the good news for Car Dealer Club members is that they get an exclusive 10 per cent discount on App Creatives’ services. That’s a healthy discount by anyone’s book and means getting into the world of mobile integration has never been so straightforward or as cost-effective.

If you have a credit licence, you must act now. REGISTER NOW

Important changes to the licensing of consumer credit are on the way. If you offer credit to your customers, you need to act now. On 1 April 2014, the Financial Conduct Authority will take over regulation of consumer credit from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). On that date all existing licences issued by the OFT will expire. Before then you will need to register for ‘Interim Permission’ if you wish to continue offering credit legally. To register takes minutes – just follow the step-by-step guide at So to continue offering credit, act now. Register for FCA Interim Permission before 30 November 2013 for a 30% fee discount.

Have you clicked yet? Register now at | 13

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Personalised reg-plates break DVLA records

Next RX-8 could use hybrid power Mazda hints there’s life in the RX-8 sports car yet


azda has not ruled out the possibility of producing another RX-8, a company director has told Car Dealer. The MX-5 is the only true sports car the Japanese firm currently builds, but Mazda hasn’t completely buried the idea of producing another RX-8 to sit at the top of its sports car range. And if a new RX-8 does appear, it could be a hybrid thanks to constant developments in Mazda’s Skyactiv technology. ‘I myself don’t know what the plans are for the RX-8, but the rotary engine is still very much at the heart of the brand,’ Mazda UK’s sales director, Peter Allibon, told us. ‘I think the RX-8 will play a part in the future, but now isn’t its time. ‘The development of Skyactiv technology could even mean we see the next rotary engine come in the form of a hybrid,’ he added. Allibon also revealed that the idea of developing its sports car range isn’t the only

segment the firm is eyeing up. ‘We have roughly a 70 per cent coverage of each segment,’ he said. ‘We don’t like to overcomplicate things, especially for our dealers, so we produce one model of each car in its segment.’ However, Allibon suggested that there was room for the Japanese brand to develop new segment models in the market, to cover areas it is currently missing out on. ‘I think there is an opportunity for Mazda to expand and enter new sectors,’ he said. ‘As an example, we currently don’t have a city sub-B segment car, but there is certainly potential for one.’ He believes that key models such as the CX-5 could be re-formed into smaller or larger models, both in engine size and design. ‘The CX-5 is a very popular car,’ Allibon said. ‘We can already see more opportunities for global expansion and I wouldn’t write off the possibility of producing a smaller or larger model.’

Mazda RX-8

One in five cars fails its first MOT test DATA from VOSA has revealed that one in five cars registered in 2010 failed its first MOT. Between January and August this year, 253,000 cars failed their first MOT test after being registered as new in 2010. More than 70 million MOT records held by VOSA were analysed by TootCompare, the real-time comparison site. Japanese and German manufacturers were the most reliable brands. The Toyota iQ achieved the highest pass rate of 91.8 per cent, ahead of the Honda Jazz and CR-V, while Lexus took the best manufacturer spot with an 89.5

per cent pass rate. Honda’s Jazz scored an impressive 90.4 per cent, while Land Rover made it into the top 10 with the Freelander achieving an 88.9 per cent pass rate. At the bottom of the table was the Renault Kangoo with a 63.5 per cent pass rate. Citroen’s Berlingo scored a 67.8 per cent pass rate while the C4 scored only 67.9 per cent. Citroen was named the worst-performing brand with an overall pass rate of 76.2 per cent. REVEALED: Top 10 cars most likely to fail their first MOT, p45

Heavisides warranty wonders

September was just the start of a great autumn


eptember was fabulous — the best month for new car registrations since before the credit crunch. There was something for everyone to shout about. Private registrations outstripped business sales and are back to 2007 levels. Buyers are coming back to the market after too long away. September hasn’t just been about great deals and showroom incentives, though. The SMMT reckons that one in seven new cars registered in September was built in the UK, which is a fantastic result for the manufacturing sector and demonstrates that locallyproduced models are in demand. For dealers, of course, the opportunities keep coming. All those September registrations mean partexchanges coming through for preparation and sale as approved used cars. October will see the focus shift to preowned models, which attracts a different customer set but offers as much potential. These customers will be just as interested in finance, warranty, GAP or cosmetic insurance as the new car buyers that dealers saw in August and September. While individual offers differ, the proposition remains the same — developing a tailor-made package for that customer’s needs. Buying a car, either new or used, is a remarkable experience for consumers but most of them won’t be aware of just how personalised it has become. Dealers have a dazzling array of products that enable them to bespoke the deal for a particular buyer. Whether a customer needs to finance the vehicle, protect their investment, budget for monthly maintenance or keep the showroom shine, there is a package available that is ideal for their individual requirements. Other markets look enviously at how individualised the motor industry has become and how tailored deals can be for particular customers. Now that the footfall is coming back on new and used sales, the ingredients are there for an ideal end to the year. September was fabulous for dealers but the rest of 2013 looks as if it will be just as successful.

‘All those registrations mean partexchanges coming in for sale’

Who is Tim Heavisides?

Heavisides is CEO of Car Care Plan, the UK’s leading provider of motor warranty and GAP products. | 15


Lone voice pushes for a Mercedes supermini to rival Audi A1 and Mini CEO wants Smart and Mercedes to take on premium hatchbacks


ercedes hasn’t ruled out producing a premium supermini to take on the Mini and Audi A1. Speaking to Car Dealer Magazine, Mercedes-Benz’s UK president and CEO said that while the Smart brand had a very positive future, he would like to see the Three-Pointed Star produce a premium supermini to take the fight to BMW’s Mini brand and Audi’s posh A1. ‘I preach to Stuttgart day and night for Mercedes-Benz to have a supermini car that would be a Mini fighter and to wear a Mercedes badge,’ Marcus Breitschwerdt told us. ‘I am not the mainstream though, I am a lone guy on this.’ Smart showed off a four-seater concept at this month’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Despite having no doors, it gave a strong idea of how a larger, more practical Smart car could look in the future. But, whatever form the four-seater Smart takes, it will never be marketed as a Mercedes-Benz. Breitschwerdt wants both Smart and MercedesBenz to produce their own individual Mini rivals to take the fight to BMW. ‘The brand proposition of Smart is different from that of Mini,’ explained Breitschwerdt. ’There will be an overlap of customers between the two brands but largely they are different. The Mini appeal is more traditional and youth-minded, whereas Smart is post-modern. The Mini is a

Smart look for the future BlackBerry and the Smart is an iPhone. ‘We almost closed down Smart completely at one point and we reduced the brand to one model. BMW needed 45 years to make it from a young man show-off brand to an acceptable premium brand with Mini. ‘I am confident Smart is a classic. It’s not the SLR or the SLS supercars that have been Mercedes’ technological masterpieces over the past 20 years – that’s the Smart car,’ said Breitschwerdt. ‘The Smart four-seater is not under the Mercedes brand but it gives me an entry segment,’ Breitschwerdt went on to say. ‘It is a premium brand itself. I admire what BMW has done with Mini — it has been an unbelievable success story. Audi too has done a

great job in such a small period of time.’ While Breitschwerdt is the first to admit he is a lone voice in the firm about creating a Mini rival that would be marketed as a Mercedes, his peers in Germany do understand his wishes. ‘I wouldn’t say senior management don’t not want a supermini – they probably agree with me and see it as a great idea,’ said Breitschwerdt. ‘But at this moment in time, they prudently say we have spent the last five years fixing our quality issues, carving out the Chrysler partnership and we have just launched the new A-Class – we have done a lot of stuff. Do one thing at a time, they say — it’s a nice idea but not now.’

Mercedes is looking to establish a downtown presence in London MERCEDES-BENZ’S UK president and CEO has declared his company needs to have a ‘downtown London’ dealership. Speaking to Car Dealer, Marcus Breitschwerdt said the Three-Pointed Star needed to adopt an Audi city-style urban dealership as the capital fitted the German luxury brand perfectly. ‘I am a great supporter of city facilities,’ Breitschwerdt told us. ‘We have our Chelsea dealership and we used to have representation in Piccadilly — but I say let’s take a look at a downtown London dealership.’

16 |

Before coming to the UK to head the Mercedes business, Breitschwerdt was president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada. There he oversaw the glitzy redevelopment of the Mercedes-Benz dealership in downtown Toronto. ‘I spent millions in Toronto to establish the downtown store,’ explained Breitschwerdt. ‘I think Mercedes-Benz should be represented in the most important city in Europe. There should be a downtown London as well as our centre in Brooklands, Surrey (pictured below). ‘Business controllers would say that in inner

London, 80 per cent of visitors visiting such a store would be tourists, so it would not pay the bills. I say so what?! They will go away and buy a Mercedes-Benz somewhere else. London is one of two or three places in the world where the rich and glamorous live and it creates trends. ‘We recently did something like this in Tokyo and it was a huge success,’ he said. ‘It was made in modern Japanese style and does not look like a traditional car dealership. There’s a cafe and a grocery place while upstairs there are computers, coffee and some Mercedes-Benz cars.’

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Proton: What’s gone wrong? With a dreadful set of sales figures in September, James Batchelor takes a look at Proton’s current situation elve deeper into September’s sales figures and look past the double-digit rises for the likes of Mitsubishi and Subaru and you’ll find quite a shock. Judging by the SMMT’s sales chart, Proton is in trouble – and in a big way. Throughout the crucial month of September the Malaysian firm registered less than a handful of cars. Three shiny Protons rolled out of dealers’ showrooms last month to customers – three! To put that into perspective, that’s the same number Saab has managed to shift all year – and that company went bankrupt nearly two years ago. And when you take a look at the company’s year-to-date performance it doesn’t make for much happier reading either as Proton has managed the round total of 18 units. That’s down 90.86 per cent on the same period last year when Proton registered 197 cars. So how has it gone so horribly wrong? We approached Proton UK to get some answers but they cancelled the interview just two hours before the agreed time. The reason? ‘Launch planning meetings are overrunning’. They issued us with a statement that was predictably vague: ‘We can confirm that Proton will be launching three exciting new Proton models in the coming months and we believe with these new models we will improve our position as well as our sales performance. ‘Once our launch plans are finalised, we will be communicating these to our dealer network.’ But perhaps Proton’s management needs to communicate this message to its dealer network more quickly. We chose five dealers at random and wanted to ask them how bad the current situation was. Three refused to have their comments published but none was positive about Proton’s future. Two however did and laid it on thick. One said: ‘We have actually given our notice to Proton that we will be dropping the franchise. They have been dangling the idea of introducing new cars for some time and there are new products in the pipeline, but we felt we didn’t want to wait. It actually pushed us to taking on Kia, which has been a really great move for us.’ Another said: ‘We are no longer a Proton dealer. We closed last year due to the shortage of stock and felt it was the right decision to make.’ Proton’s current state is a far cry from how 18 |

it began 30 years ago. The car company, now owned by DRB-HICOM, started out in its home country of Malaysia in 1983 and produced the country’s first domestic car. By the late-1980s, imports began to arrive in the UK initially through Lada dealers, and once the 1990s dawned Proton became the fastest-selling new car brand ever with more than 22,000 cars sold in just two years. With the early-’90s recession doing its best to help the UK new car market slump to a 20 per cent low, Proton was riding a crest with sales up 30 per cent. Its simple model range of the MPI saloon and Aeroback (hatchback) used old Mitsubishi products and was priced up as cheaply as possible. The firm took advantage of a growing gap at the bottom end of the market – a gap that was ever-widening thanks to Japanese cars becoming more expensive – and UK buyers were hooked. More products arrived throughout the 1990s and the firm even took advantage of holding the keys to Lotus, giving a sporty makeover to its insipid Mitsubishi Colt-based Satria hatchback. With a tweaked chassis and beefed-up bodywork, the Satria GTi received rave reviews from the media and created a loyal fan base. Nowadays, the firm doesn’t produce anything as so proudly flamboyant as the GTi. Instead, its range consists of three lines: the cheap but unremarkable Savvy city car; the even more unremarkable Satria Neo supermini; and the desperately old Gen-2 hatchback, saloon and an LPG variant. There has been the promise of new product in the shape of a saloon and an MPV called the Exora, but it would seem that some dealers couldn’t wait any longer. However, there is some good news in this story. One retailer has faith and is looking forward to the future – Richard Smith, MD of one of the longest-serving Proton dealers in the UK, Golden Hill Garage in Leyland, Lancashire. ‘Proton is set to introduce more than three brand new models this year and beginning of next,’ Smith told us. ‘I’ve already been to a confidential meeting at the HQ in Bristol and driven the new cars – the introduction of new models will really freshen the brand. ‘Proton isn’t about the badge or rising prices – all the cars are full-spec from standard.’ On the question of the dismal sales figures,

Smith replied: ‘We haven’t been selling cars because we’ve had a shortage of products – basically we sold our last lot of stock too quickly, so had to stop marketing. If anything, Proton and ourselves have been too successful – perhaps a bit too big for our boots in a way – and we have a very positive outlook. ‘Next year, we look to sell more than 100 cars – that’s just a rough idea as we don’t know what the volume figures will be. We expect Proton cars to be selling like hotcakes early in 2014.’ It would seem to us these new products and a bucket-load of cash for marketing exploits cannot come soon enough. Proton’s current situation is an interesting one – one that we will be watching closely over the next few months. [CD]

Kia: We don’t want customers to customise their cars



KIA’S journey from joke to acceptance really began with the Cee’d of 2006 which looked both great and was built well. Before this seminal car, Kias sold in large numbers but the company’s cars were desirable only because they were cheap. One of the biggest reasons for its turnaround was its seven-year warranty – before Kia, it was unheard of for a car maker to be so confident of its products.


Remember the Carisma, the Lancer, the Space Star...? Mitsubishi produced a number of dire cars in recent decades but its current product range changes all of that. Its Outlander is a real step up in quality, its L200 pickup is routinely number one in its class while the Mirage is attracting buyers. Customers love Mitsubishis too – the Japanese firm is enjoying a vast boost in sales and brand image.


ARGUABLY the biggest turnaround by any car manufacturer, the story of Skoda’s transformation is the stuff of legend. Before the VW Group came along, Skodas were bought by the eccentrics – now they’re the wheels of choice for anyone and everyone, transcending all classes and professions. Skoda can’t build its Yeti crossover quick enough, while its Octavia vRS is one of the hottest hatches around. | 19


HEADLINES Audi: Increasing customer loyalty to our brand is the next biggest challenge Sander: We lead premium sector but there is more work to be done udi UK’s departing managing director, Martin Sander, believes the business he is leaving is in ‘good shape’ but there is more work to be done. Speaking exclusively to Car Dealer, Sander — who has now taken up the position of senior diector sales Americas — is proud of his achievements with the UK business, and believes the brand has done a great job in creating great cars and dealers but needs to work harder on customer loyalty. ‘We have achieved a lot in the UK but we still have many more opportunities to grow the business,’ he told us. ‘Audi has to grasp the opportunities available over the next few years — that’s the challenge moving forwards. ‘We are ahead of BMW and Mercedes in the sales figures; we have broken 100,000 sales this year. We are way ahead of these two brands and we are clearly the number one. ‘That is a new challenge for us because we have never been in this position — now we have to be a bit more

inventive in order to find business opportunities.’ Sander explained that dealers which were not performing at their best levels needed some assistance and the business needed to understand why customers were leaving Audi for rival brands. ‘We currently have a huge customer base but our customer loyalty sits at around roughly 40 per cent. This is better than our competitors but it still means that 60 per cent of customers who drive an Audi are prepared to move to another brand. I would like to understand why that is and address it — I want to convince them to stay with Audi. We have the best product range around and we have some of the finest dealers on offer, there isn’t a reason to change to another brand.’ On the subject of whether Audi’s new digital dealerships would have an adverse effect on customer retention, Sander said: ‘Not at all. The “digital dealership” is a tool to build great customer relations. ‘Audi City gives us a new way to talk to customers and gives them a different experience of Audi.’


Our success is not a surprise RENAULT’S UK managing director Ken Ramirez believes Dacia’s strong sales since the brand’s launch this year ‘is not a surprise’. Ramirez said he was ‘happy’ with Dacia’s current performance but that just because the Renault-owned Romanian car brand had been a success in Europe, it didn’t guarantee success in the UK. ‘We want the Dacia business model to be truly amazing,’ he told us. ‘But we cannot just assume it will sell itself. The UK is diverse and while some people know about Dacia, there are many who don’t. We need to work on this.’


We will be No.1 in hybrid again HONDA has declared it will be number one in the hybrid sector again. UK boss Phil Crossman told us: ‘We were the first company to build and complete a road-going hybrid in the form of the Insight. ‘I think you’ll see in the next couple of years we’ll absolutely regenerate the hybrid brand.’


Fewer Audi model launches in future GERMAN firm Audi has doubled the number of cars in its model range in the past 10 years — but that growth won’t continue. Speaking to Car Dealer Audi director Martin Sander said that level of growth was ‘not sustainable’ and not ‘part of the future plans’. ‘The current range is sufficient and we see no reason why this should change,’ he said. 20 |

Retro Sport Quattro ‘likely’ to be built AUDI has given its strongest hint yet that its stunning Sport Quattro concept (pictured above) will be built. Former Audi UK MD Martin Sander revealed that the German firm was seriously considering putting the car into production because it embodies the company’s philosophy. ‘It is very, very likely that a car of this kind will be in the market place,’ Sander told us. And when pressed on what form that car would take, he

said: ‘It’ll be a four-wheel-drive coupe that looks back to its heritage and has outstanding performance. But the car won’t only be about heritage. It will also be a car that points the way into the future in terms of technology — setting new benchmarks like the original Sport Quattro did. That car was groundbreaking. We are recognising we have had groundbreaking products in the past, so why not come up with something groundbreaking again?’

RCZ R is an aficionado’s car PEUGEOT’S new range of racing-inspired products won’t sell in large quantities in this country says Tim Zimmerman, Peugeot UK managing director. ‘We think we’ll sell 300 cars in the UK,’ he said. ‘It’s a more exclusive end of the market and won’t appeal to everyone. Whom it will appeal to is the aficionado,’ Zimmerman added.


McLaren to help Honda be sporty

‘Ahead of its time’ iOn EV is ready to pounce PEUGEOT’S UK MD Tim Zimmerman believes the allelectric iOn was ‘ahead of its time’. The Mitsubishi i-MiEV-based car launched in 2010 but so far has not been bought in large quantities in the UK. ‘The iOn was ahead of its time, but the infrastructure and fiscal benefits have not kept pace,’ said Zimmerman. ‘It’s a shame because we have always been ahead of the market. But we now build to order with iOn and don’t have stockpiles. We’re ready when the electric market does take off and we think the iOn will be a good car to go back into the sector.’

Exclusive: Infiniti to create hot range JAPANESE luxury brand Infiniti has confirmed it will create a performance range of cars — but they may not bear Sebastian Vettel’s name. ‘We can expect, in time, a very clear emergence of an Infiniti performance range,’ Infiniti president Johan de Nysschen told Car Dealer. ‘I’m not going to speculate on what we are going to call it just yet, but we will have our own highperformance line.’ Infiniti’s last ‘hot’ car was the FX Vettel which was limited to just 150 units ‘Whether we do more limited-

edition derivatives bearing Sebastian’s name is something we need to discuss with him and internally on the merits of such a partnership.’ The FX Vettel came about through talks between Infiniti and the triple-world champion who both recognised ‘it was a good opportunity and were anxious to bring a tangible benefit to market’. However, despite its small numbers, not all FX Vettels have sold. ‘What that figure is I do not know,’ said de Nysschen. ‘There are some things I do not commit to memory.’

Nine is the magic number LAND Rover has unveiled a mind-boggling NINE-SPEED gearbox in the hugely popular baby Range Rover Evoque. First gear is only used in really boggy conditions – a little like low range – so most of the time the Evoque pulls away in second. The higher gears act as overdrives, dramatically

reducing fuel consumption. The new automatic gearbox will replace all six-speed units on 2014 models and is one of the biggest improvements in the new cars. The new gearbox and drivetrain technology combines to lower emissions by nearly 10 per cent and improve fuel economy by more than

11 per cent. Other new tweaks for the 2014 Evoque include subtle exterior and interior touches, such as smaller wing mirrors and clever new technology such as wade sensing and a reversing traffic detection system. Exclusive: Range Rover Evoque still on the cards, p23

HONDA’S new collaboration with McLaren will revive the brand’s sporting image, UK MD Phil Crossman has told Car Dealer Magazine. ‘Honda’s connection with motorsport is still very strong,’ Crossman told us. ‘Now, our sporting credentials continue to evolve.’ The link will see Honda develop McLaren’s F1 engines and McLaren help out with the Honda NSX. ‘The NSX and our Civic models prove to our customers that the technology we develop and use in motorsport is being filtered down into our road cars,’ Crossman explained.


Brand image needs work ITS cars may be good but Kia needs to work on its image, a director has said. Benny Oeyen, vicepresident for marketing and product planning, told us: ‘Brand image is one of the biggest things we have to work on in the future. ‘From a marketing point of view, we also need to do some work. We found that customers would like the look of our vehicles and take them out for a test drive, but would still be reluctant to buy one because they don’t think the quality will be very good.’


Opel and Chevy: Too similar OPEL/Vauxhall and Chevrolet are not strong enough to be differentiated in customers’ minds, Chevrolet Europe’s president has told Car Dealer. ‘We both need to work on brand health — that’s customer awareness and our brand characteristics,’ said Thomas Sedran. ‘We are not where we want to be — we need to be perceived differently.’ | 21


HEADLINES Times are good, says JLR but the rewards are set to get even greater Now is the time for dealers to invest in the future


aguar Land Rover executive John orders. Couple this with on-going success for Edwards has asked Car Dealer to deliver Evoque, which still enjoys a healthy order bank, a rousing message to his UK network: and continuing sales success for its other models Things are just about to get even better. and it’s clear why Land Rover dealers are in good Edwards, global director of Land Rover, was shape. Edwards added: ‘I happen to know — appointed managing director of JLR’s new because they call me often — that our dealers in Individual Products Division (see panel p23) at the UK are enjoying the good times. Now is the the beginning of October and used an interview time to invest for the future, so my message to with Car Dealer to get a feelgood them is this: I’m thrilled that you are message across to his network and to doing well, but let’s make sure we invest. explain that things might be looking ‘Whether that’s in people, training, good now but wait until you see what’s customer service, whatever it is, we around the corner. have to build this brand. We are very ‘I love the dealer network in the ambitious and want to establish Land UK,’ he said in an exclusive interview Rover as a serious and powerful brand.’ at the Frankfurt Motor Show. ‘I was Edwards added that perhaps a decade MD of the UK division for three years ago the maker was regarded as a ‘cottage through the recession, from 2008-2010. industry brand’ but now it is taken John These were very difficult times and as seriously and that means investment is Edwards a franchise and network we worked needed from its dealers, too very well together. But it was tough. Now their He said: ‘If dealers are profitable then they’re loyalty through those hard times is starting to be happy and they are investing in the future. As rewarded and they are reaping the benefits.’ long as we all keep focused on the vision, we will Edwards was referring to the recent launches of get there. My message to the network is simple: Range Rover and new Range Rover Sport — both Stick with us and keep working hard and the of which have received rave reviews and strong rewards will get even greater.’

Looking for talent

JLR struggling to fill 1,700 new UK jobs THERE are not enough skilled engineers to fill Jaguar Land Rover’s recently-announced 1,700 new jobs, believes boss Jeremy Hicks. The firm’s UK managing director told Car Dealer his firm struggles to find engineering talent and may have to look abroad. His dealer network is having a tough time finding the right people, too. Hicks said a Scottish dealer competes for technicians with local oil companies. ‘The dealer has been forced to look to Poland for its technicians because locally there is no-one with the skills. They have the expertise and the desire to move and the dealer puts them through English lessons.’ 22 |

Drop-top dEcision

Convertible Evoque still on the cards A convertible Range Rover Evoque has not been ruled out by Land Rover bosses — and a green light for the drop-top could be given in a matter of weeks. In an exclusive interview at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Land Rover global director John Edwards said the convertible Evoque was still on the cards. As the Evoque approaches 18 months on sale in the UK, there is a need for innovation to keep the model up to date. Edwards admits the looks don’t need any work, so lopping the roof off could be one way of keeping it fresh. ‘We have a few tricks up our sleeve for this car in the not-too-distant future,’ said Edwards. ‘I am very hopeful we will confirm the convertible one way or the other very soon. The feasibility of a convertible model is not in question, it’s more about whether it is the right place for us to invest our money.’

Jag wants to take on BMW 1 Series and Audi A1 Jaguar is considering a rival to the BMW 1 Series and Audi A1 to follow on from its forthcoming compact saloon. Once the British manufacturer starts selling its compact saloon in 2015 — a rival to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class — Jaguar could launch an even smaller car in its range. ‘It’s not at the forefront of our thinking, but I wouldn’t dismiss it,’ explained global brand director Adrian Hallmark. ‘If we look at trends, CO2 and urbanisation in cities, small premium cars have got to be a part of the future landscape for Jaguar.’ However, Hallmark said Jaguar had to make a success of its mid-sized BMW 1 Series

saloon before it could launch a smaller car. He wants to take on BMW, Audi and Mercedes with the firm’s new C-segment saloon, which he claims will be the ‘most efficient, most refined, most advanced and best designed’ car in the class. ‘Last year we sold 58,000 Jaguars globally. When I say we should be able to beat that number with the new saloon alone, comfortably, you can see the difference this car will make to our brand.’ Hallmark also said Jaguar Land Rover had considered adding another brand to its portfolio — possibly something similar to BMW’s ‘i’ range.


SUV Jag ‘needs to be sporty’

How an Evoque drop-top could look

Bid to beat the Germans Jaguar’s new saloon should see dealers’ sales double!


aguar dealers should prepare to sell double the number of cars when the new saloon arrives. Global brand director Adrian Hallmark said the new BMW 3 Seriesrivalling saloon would propel Jaguar back to the volumes the network was used to with the X-Type. ‘Dealers can look forward to selling double the amount of cars they were selling last year,’ explained Hallmark. ‘The saloon will result in a significant uplift. What’s more, between now and 2015, when it arrives, we’ll have a full year of F-Type, Sportbrake and the 2.2 diesels and all the other stuff

we’ve put into the mix.’ The Jaguar network should be able to cope with the increased sales volumes — but Hallmark wants showrooms to offer an even more premium experience. ‘When dealers were selling X-Type they were selling way more cars,’ he told Car Dealer. ‘They were set up for that. And most markets were geared up for the previous entry into

Jaguar X-Type

the saloon segment. There is a huge amount of dealer investment going in to upgrade and we want to use these launches to transform the look and feel of the network. They need to be more premium, more modern, more progressive without flattening everything and rebuilding.’ Jaguar is hoping to compete with BMW, Audi and Mercedes with the new saloon, which Hallmark believes will be the ‘most efficient, most refined, most advanced and best designed’ car in the class. With that in mind, just how big can Jaguar grow? Will it be able to beat the Germans in the sales charts?

Jaguar’s new C-X17 SUV needs to be sporty to drive on road more than it needs to be capable off road, according to one of the firm’s directors. With sister company Land Rover’s brilliant offroaders in the same stable, it was always going to be hard to create a pumpedup Jaguar. However, Phil Popham, group marketing director for Jaguar Land Rover, says that can be done but it’s all about how it performs. ‘It needs to be brilliant to drive on the road and not necessarily all that capable off it,’ he explained. ‘Land Rover does that very well already. If the C-X17 gets the go-ahead, it needs to capture the essence of Jaguar.’ Although not currently slated for production, there’s little doubt that we will be seeing the ‘concept’ — unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show — joining the Jaguar range in the very near future.

new md

Edwards changes role JAGUAR Land Rover has appointed John Edwards as managing director of the new Individual Products Division, which is responsible for ‘brand extending products’. Edwards is responsible for the ‘Engineered To Order’ division, accessories, licensing and merchandise activities, vehicle operations and heritage vehicles. | 23

DASHBOARD. frankfurt motorshow 2013

Showstoppers This year’s Frankfurt Motor Show showed off a number of concept cars but few new cars. James Batchelor rounds up his favourite car unveilings

Infiniti Q30 It’s a concept but cue motoring journo cliche ‘it’s almost production-ready.’ This is essentially the car Nissan’s Sunderland factory will be building from 2015, and shares a platform with the Mercedes A-Class. It features styling that ‘challenges categorisation’; Infiniti has been here before, let’s hope it’s learnt its lesson...

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe Maybach is dead and the Mercedes CL is old so the Three-Pointed Star is looking at widening the new S-Class range to cure both problems. This is one of the options – a two-door coupe. It’s only a concept at the moment but it’s pretty likely to get the green light. Knowing how technological the S-Class saloon is, expect more with this.

Audi Sport Quattro Audi has trodden this ground before but shelved the original concept back in 2010. Now it has revealed this and – as we’ve already reported on p20 – it’s more than likely to be built. Expect a 4.0-litre V8 engine mated to an electric hybrid drivetrain and a positioning above the R8 in the model line-up.

Volvo Coupe Taking Car Dealer’s concept car award, Volvo’s new design study is spectacular. Some of the lines bear a striking resemblance to Volvo’s beautiful P1800 of the 1960s. Volvo must put this into production. Must.

24 |

Peugeot 308R

Lexus LF-NX

Honda Civic Tourer

We’re not really sure whether Peugeot is going to put an R version of the 308 into producton. But we know it’s working on a GTi, so it may well happen. That’s fine, of course, but the redand-black livery looks like a paint protection demonstration gone wrong.

The Volvo? Most beautiful. This Lexus? Most diabolically ugly. Thankfully, it’s not productionready – more of a design study should Lexus ever take on the Range Rover Evoque. We can imagine it trying its luck with the British SUV, but this is a bit OTT. Know what we mean?

Hurrah! An actual car that will be appearing in showrooms. But unfortunately Honda’s oncegood-looking concept hasn’t quite translated to a nicely-styled car. Despite this, it’ll be the roomiest in class with the seats up and will have a completely flat load floor. Prices should be £800£1,000 more than the standard Civic hatchback.

Ford S-Max Ah, another concept. And you’ll be pleased to hear this is pretty close to production reality. We think Ford has done a good job of moving the styling on but keeping some old S-Max design features. New S-Max is sure to be a step-on in terms of interior quality and tech, too.

Hyundai i10 Our star of the show. No, really. That’s because it is such an important car for dealers in the UK. Hyundai is nervous about starting afresh being the market leader, but the new i10 is a strong package. Slightly overstyled, maybe, but it’s no longer frumpy. Quality is up too.

Jaguar C-X17 Once again Jaguar stole the limelight at a major international motor show. But this time instead of something traditional like a two-seater sports car, this is its latest creation – a 4x4. Rivalling the Audi Q5, it could appear in 2016 with prices starting from £30,000. | 25

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DASHBOARD. Kia says GT is 99 per cent production-ready TWO of the most talked-about Kia concept cars in years are likely to appear in showrooms, Car Dealer has learnt. The firm is 99 per cent ready to sign off its first sports car, while Kia’s star of the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Niro, is likely to be built. Revealed two years ago at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the sleek Kia GT is ‘99 per cent production-

ready’, according to a company director. ‘We’ll see the GT on European streets in the near future,’ Kia Europe’s vice-president for sales and marketing, Benny Oeyen, exclusively told us. The compact SUV Niro concept (pictured below) is B-SUVsized and has a 160bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol under its bonnet. If it goes into production, it could also be available with Kia’s new 1.0-litre petrol engine.

court move

Council acts to stop car sales A CAR dealer could face prison if he continues to trade without planning permission. The business, known as Paul Fleet Cooke, sells vehicles from a former pub in Babraham Road just outside Cambridge, which residents say is an ‘eyesore’. South Cambridge District Council has been trying to stop the dealer selling cars at the location since 2005, but has been unsuccessful. According to Cambridge News, the planning committee has agreed to apply for a court injunction which, if breached, could see Fleet Cooke sent to prison.

september boost

Growing sales at JCT600

Kia Niro concept

Customers do a great job of selling cars for Kia via positive online review site comments

JCT600 has reported record figures for new car sales in September, showing an increase of 66 per cent on last year. The family-run business, headed by John Tordoff (pictured), which operates 47 dealerships in the north and north-east of the UK, says this boost also reflects the recent expansion of the group.

Getting behind the wheel is a pleasant surprise for many Kia drivers

bounced cheques


Car dealer in court for fraud

ustomers are still surprised at how good Kia’s cars are, a company director has exclusively told Car Dealer. While the Korean brand’s turn in fortunes is well known to many in the industry, customers are still surprised at how strong the firm’s cars are when they get behind the wheel, says Paul Philpott, Kia Motors UK president and CEO. ‘We are aware that 50 per cent of the UK population has never considered a Kia,’ explained Philpott. ‘While that is a sizeable opportunity for us, it’s clear that those who are owners are the ones that are really selling our cars for us.’ Philpott believes the firm’s recent tie-up with the review company Reevoo is a sign of how keen customers are to talk about their Kia. ‘When customers buy a brandnew car from one of our dealers, they are contacted by Revoo 28 days later,’ Philpott said. ‘They are then asked

to submit a review of their car — and we are getting some tremendously positive comments. Our average score is 8.5 out of 10. More manufacturers are starting to follow our lead now and realising how important it is to let the customer sell their cars for them.’ Philpott said he expects 2013 to be another record year for the Korean brand. He believes Kia will shift 72,000 cars in the UK this year, moving it ever higher in the sales charts. And one of the key drivers will be the Sportage. Despite it being largely unchanged since its 2010 introduction, the distinctly-styled SUV is still pulling customers in. ‘I have a bet with my sales director we will sell 20,000 Sportages this year,’ said Philpott. ‘If you compare that to what we were doing with the old Sportage, you really understand what a milestone that is. With the previous generation Sportage, we were selling 3,000 a year!’

A CAR dealer could face a jail sentence after cheques paid to an Aston Barclay auction house bounced. Miles Eglin, 45, made four failed payments to Aston Barclay Westbury, which saw a loss of £53,000 for the company. Eglin, from Shaw Hill, Melksham, pleaded guilty to fraud at Swindon Crown Court. The case was adjourned for presentence reports. | 27

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Hyundai’s success sees it hold back on sales of i10 for fear of harming other models Historically, company has been too reliant on its small cars, says CEO

This year’s new car sales are ‘just a blip’ THE new car market next year will be flat – and could even be down believes Hyundai Motor Europe’s senior vice-president and COO, Allan Rushforth. Speaking to Car Dealer, the Brit believes that certain factors affecting the new car market in the UK will only have a finite period before the broader European market drags the UK down. He’s of the view that next year the market will be broadly flat — and it could even be down. ‘We’ll see 2.2m car sales this year, and 2.2m next year — or perhaps fewer,’ Rushforth said. ‘There is no anticipation of it going up much more. The current UK new car market’s strong performance is seen as a bit of a blip. ‘At the moment, the UK is seen as a route to market for a lot of car manufacturers. There are a lot of incentives around, which means it’s a great time to buy a new car. ‘There’s also the situation of PPI. It has, so far, accounted for £10bn and there is another £5bn to go. This is giving a stimulation to the car market. This is a blip.’


yundai will not sell tens of thousands of its new i10 because that could damage other models in its UK

40,000 i10s just because he could. He wants all models to have equal sales figures. ‘I’m only looking to sell 20,000-25,000 i10s,’ Whitehorn said. line-up. ‘We need to increase selling more Speaking to Car Dealer, president i40s, ix25s and Santa Fes. and CEO of Hyundai Motor UK Tony ‘We are in a unique position of Whitehorn said he would not flood being market leader of the city car the market with its all-new city car segment. Hyundai has never led a because if that happened, segment before in the UK — there could be a devastating that alone brings its effect on both the brand own challenges. and the firm’s other cars. ‘Being in this position, it ‘Historically, we have would be very easy to sell as been too reliant on our many i10s as we could. small cars,’ Whitehorn ‘I don’t want to sell told us. 40,000 i10s because that is ‘We have been selling not healthy.’ 20,000 i10s every year The all-new Hyundai since we launched the car i10, which the company Tony in 2008. hopes will compete with the Whitehorn ‘Back then, we sold popular Volkswagen Up, will 57,000 vehicles in total, while today reach UK showrooms early next year we sell 78,000. in five-door guise only. ‘That increment has come Two engines will be available, both through i30, i40 and ix35. We have petrol: a 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit maintained our small car sales but with 65bhp capable of 96mph and increased our other products – 0-60mph in 14.7sec, and an 86bhp and that is our strategy as we 1.25-litre four-cylinder unit with move forwards.’ a 106mph top speed and 12.3sec Whitehorn said he would not sell 0-60mph acceleration.

name change

Jardine goes with Lancaster DEALER group Jardine is pushing its Lancaster trademark across its dealerships. The Lancaster name is one of the oldest in Jardine’s portfolio, dating from 1969. Now Jardine is extending its use because it has ‘high levels of positive awareness’ according to the chief executive. ‘Jardine Motors Group has seen a number of acquisitions and with these has come a proliferation of trading names, including Lancaster, Appleyard, Abridge, Cloverleaf, Minories, Scotthall and Wayside,’ said Mark Herbert. ‘Each trading name has had benefit locally. However, the increasing use of the internet by our customers means this is no longer the case. The Lancaster name continues to enjoy high levels of positive awareness within the industry and is synonymous with quality of service.’ The Lancaster name replaces all of Jardine’s other names and will be rolled out progressively.

website refresh

Car Dealer revs up mobile site

CAR Dealer Magazine has given the mobile version of its website a major overhaul. The refresh gives mobile users of the website a more user-friendly experience, with a streamlined look, new fonts and images accompanying stories on the homepage, plus a bold-looking slider at the top of the page allowing easier navigation. James Baggott, managing director of Blackball Media – Car Dealer Magazine’s parent company – said: ‘This new overhaul is sure to keep our readers happy.’ | 29

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Ewards 2013 – get nominating now



Your LAST chance... CarDealer


WHEELER DEALERS get nominating in the Used Car Awards and Ewards – don’t miss out on a spectacular evening


his December sees the most comprehensive awards ceremony taking place – and this is your last chance to enter. We’re combining the Used Car Awards with Ewards, creating an awards ceremony like no other, and you only have until the end of October to nominate yourself – or others – for a prestigious gong. The move comes as Car Dealer experienced unprecedented demand in nominations for both the Used Car Awards and Ewards – so we decided to roll the two dos together to create a spectacular evening. On the night of December 2, we will be handing out gongs in 21 different categories in the Used Car Awards. Then a portion of the evening will be devoted to celebrating the best automotive websites around with the Ewards gongs. The awards evening will be ably supported by Mr Wheeler Dealer himself, Mike Brewer, and the theme for the night will be Miami Vice – so you’re encouraged to get your ’80s gear on. USED CAR AWARDS Below are the categories up for grabs. To nominate yourself and – hopefully – a few other





dealers who you think deserve a mention, well, we’ve made it easier than ever this year – simply type into your favourite web browser or scan the QR code below to bring up our nominations form. Just fill in the categories you want to and we’ll do the rest. It couldn’t be any easier. EWARDS Ewards is our chance to recognise the best websites, web designers and web specialists in the automotive sector.

Using a panel of expert judges in the run-up to the event, the best of the best will be picked out and celebrated on the night. Seen a category that you think you or one of your customers should be winning? It couldn’t be easier. Simply go to where you will find all the details and you can nominate either yourself or someone that you believe should be winning one of our prestigious awards. But you only have until the end of October to get nominating for both the Used Car Awards and Ewards – so don’t delay!

1. Used Car Dealership of the Year Under 50 cars

11. Dealer’s Dealer of the Year Award – NEW

2. Used Car Dealership of the Year 51-100 cars

12. Used Car Sales Team of the Year

3. Used Car Dealership of the Year – Over 100 cars 4. Used Car Dealership Group of the Year 5. Manufacturer Used Car Scheme of the Year 6. Manufacturer Used Car Marketing Scheme of the Year – NEW 7. Used Car of the Year 8. Best Performing Used Car of the Year 9. Best New Used Car Dealer of the Year – NEW 10. Used Car Finance Product of the Year - NEW

13. Used Car Sales Manager of the Year 14. Used Car Dealer Principal of the Year – NEW 15. Upsales and F&I Performance of the Year 16. Best Used Car Customer Care 17. Used Car Website of the Year 18. Best Dealer Used Car Marketing Scheme of the Year 19. Used Car Product of the Year – NEW 20. Outstanding Achievement of the Year


EWARDS 2013 Nominate by going to UsedNoms13 or scan this:


Used car awards


1. Franchised Dealer Website of The Year 2. Independent Dealer Website of The Year 3. Car Manufacturer of The Year 4. Social Media User of the Year – NEW

21. Lifetime Achievement Award

Used Car Awards in association with... | 31

DASHBOARD. couple in court

Online scam ends in prison A COUPLE have been sent to prison after swindling car buyers in an online scam. Paul Humphries, 51, and Linda Holden, 55, ran the scam from Car Prestige Ltd, registered in Pershore, and were jailed at Worcester Crown Court — Humphries for four years and Holden for eight months. The pair, of Bredbury, Stockport, scammed customers out of £94,491 before fleeing to Ireland. Humphries pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud committed between April and May 2011. He advertised cars on the Auto Trader website, agreed a price with a buyer but failed to deliver the vehicle. Humphries pleaded guilty to a further six counts of fraud totalling £47,600 while trading as Castle TT Motors Ltd in Lancashire. Holden admitted one charge of fraud, claiming she was pressured into helping.

Council’s letters ‘halt car trading’ Fraudulent dealer can’t work after jail time A FRAUDULENT car dealer who was jailed for conning customers out of cash has complained that he is being stopped from working as a motor trader, driving him into unemployment. Kevin Blaber, 51, ripped off 10 customers with a number of scams and was jailed for 10 months in April last year and ordered to pay back nearly ÂŁ100,000 to cover the alleged profits of the crimes. He covered up vehicle warning lights to hide engine faults and used two fake dealership stamps to support false claims of full service histories. Appearing at Plymouth Crown Court to discuss how he should repay the proceeds of his trading, Blaber said the city council had sent a letter to two auction houses

where he bought and sold cars, which had stopped him from buying there. He said: ‘I have been forced into unemployment. It is almost like I have been penalised a second time.’ Jason Beal, for the city council, said he knew a letter had been written but added he didn’t know what it said. Blaber, from Woolwell, asked Judge Paul Darlow for help in getting the council to ‘rescind’ the letter. The judge said he did not know of any power where the council could stop him trading. However, he added he did not have the power to intervene. The judge did, though, grant Blaber a three-week extension to pay back ÂŁ95,000, reported local website This Is Plymouth.

Kalina steps up as Renault Group MD RENAULT Retail Group has appointed Michal Kalina as its managing director. Kalina, 51, oversees the group’s Renault, Dacia and Nissan sites in the UK. He joined Renault in 1991 as a commercial manager, going on to become commercial operations director of Renault Poland. After nine years with Renault Poland, he joined Renault Retail Group in the UK as the general manager of Renault Enfield in 2000. He returned to Poland in 2003 where he set up Renault Retail Group operations in the country. Kalina Michal Kalina replaces Len Curran, who has been appointed MD of its European region. ‘Michal’s vast experience of Renault Retail Group operations, including his previous experience in the UK market, will secure sound leadership in our largest dealer group in the UK,’ said managing director of Renault UK Ken Ramirez. ‘His appointment coincides with the clear turning-point of growth for Renault and Dacia in the market.’


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Emilia is in the pink as dealer makes a dream come true Candy-coloured Lamborghini ride makes one girl very happy


uxury car dealer HR Owen has helped to fulfil the wish of a seriously ill child by giving her the opportunity to have a ride in a pink Lamborghini. UK charity Rays of Sunshine teamed up with HR Owen and Lamborghini UK to secure one of the dealership’s Lamborghini Aventadors, in which it was resprayed candy pink — allegedly making it one of a kind in the world. Behind the wheel to escort eight-year-old Emilia on her dream drive was Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond, who greeted her at the door to find her dressed in her pink racing suit. It wasn’t just a quick pootle around town either; Hammond took Emilia to the track to show her exactly what the raging bull can do. Hammond said: ‘It was a real privilege to be asked to make a To see the video contribution to such an inspiring, scan the QR code positive, unique and uplifting occasion.

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new entrant

Dacia makes its mark in the UK After selling its 10,000th vehicle to a UK customer just 10 months after it entered the UK market in January 2013, Dacia sold a further 1,500 cars in just two weeks. The budget brand has sold 11,500 cars this year after the impact of the sales boost from September’s new car registrations.


Mitsubishi is back on form ‘Emilia was charming and wonderful. ‘There was every chance she could have been shy, but she chatted non-stop. It is truly inspiring how brave people are. ‘Hearty congratulations to Rays of Sunshine for organising yet another unique and special occasion and to HR Owen for pulling out all the stops.’

MITSUBISHI Motors UK’s dealer profitability is at its highest level since 2006. September’s registration figures show year-to-date sales up by 49.61 per cent, thanks to new dealer appointments and model introductions.

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DASHBOARD. garage gromit

Auction raises charity cash WESSEX Garage has paid £21,000 for a Gromit pooch, from a charity art exhibition in Bristol. The statue is just one of 11 mini versions of the 80 five-foot Gromits that were hidden around the streets of Bristol earlier this year for the public art trail Gromit Unleashed. Earlier this month, the sculptures, designed by famous artists, designers and celebrities, were auctioned, raising £2.357m for Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Sale of illegal car ends in court Trading officers posed as consumers


car dealership has been fined for illegally selling an ‘unroadworthy car’, following an investigation by Hertfordshire Trading Standards. Owner of the dealership Leon Howman pleaded guilty to two offences under the Road Traffic Act and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations at West Hertfordshire Magistrates’ Court. While Howman was away he left his brother, Bevis, in charge of Leon Howman Cars, based in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, where he sold an 11-year-old Zafira. He sealed the deal at £700, down from the original £995, as a trade sale to Trading Standards officers posing as consumers in

January this year. According to The Comet newspaper, the car had a worn handbrake and a rusty ball joint that affected the steering, making the vehicle dangerous to drive. The court heard that Trading Standards officers had given advice in 2010 to Leon Howman, including advice on checking the roadworthiness of cars. Howman was told he could never restrict a consumer’s statutory rights with statements such as ‘sold as seen’, ‘no refunds’ and ‘trade sale only’. The business was fined £700 for the sale of the unroadworthy car and £1,000 for trying to escape liability by calling the deal a trade sale. Leon Howman Cars was also ordered to pay costs of £1,645 and a victim surcharge of £120.

Record results keep on coming JOHN Clark Motor Group has reported record results for the third year in a row. The group’s turnover increased to £354m from £308m in 2012, representing a 15 per cent increase over the 12 months. The company also reported a 20 per cent uplift in terms of new vehicle sales to a record 8,483 units sold during 2012, while used car results increased by 17 per cent to 7,079 vehicles over the same period. Operating profit before interest rose by 12 per cent in 2012 to reach £5.7m while group pre-tax profit reached £4.4m compared with £3.8m in 2011. Meanwhile, the group has reported record vehicle sales for September 2013, with more than 3,000 units sold. This represents a 36 per cent increase over the same period last year. This is the 27th month in a row that the company has seen a growth in vehicle sales across the group. | 37

38 |


Dealer suspends employee who drove with bonnet up Mercedes caught on camera on busy A road with restricted vision through front windsceeen


dealer employee has been suspended after driving a Mercedes along a dual carriageway with its bonnet up. The driver was caught on camera driving the Mercedes E-Class with its bonnet up along a 50mph stretch of the busy A31 near Cadnam with a battery charger attached to the engine. The car was up for sale for £24,000 at a dealership in Winchester. According to the BBC, Ridgeway Group confirmed that it has suspended a member of staff while police carry out an investigation. Jon Head, group operations director for Mercedes-Benz of Winchester, said: ‘We were all shocked to see the footage. We investigated what happened straight away, and the person driving the car has been suspended from work whilst we look into the facts. ‘Everyone who works at all of our sites is fully aware of the importance of working safely, either on the road or at a dealership. ‘We have never seen anything like this before, and we will make sure that it won’t happen again.’

E-Class was up for sale for £24k at dealer The man was filmed by BBC presenter Jon Cuthill, who happened to be a passenger in a passing vehicle. He said: ‘I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.’ He added: ‘I just think it’s crazy that someone would drive along a dual carriageway stretch of road without being able to see through the windscreen.’ Commenting on the incident, an AA spokesman said: ‘It’s mind-boggling and obviously very dangerous. ‘It’s someone who clearly didn’t give a thought to other road-users. It highlights there are drivers out there outside the mould of normality.’


Subaru goes to Newcastle JAPANESE marque Subaru has appointed a new dealer in Newcastle. Based in West Road in the West End of the Tyneside city, Subaru Newcastle is a new business established by Louise Parker and her father, Peter Dalkin. The dealership has a newly-constructed 200square-metre showroom. Subaru UK MD Paul Tunnicliffe said: ‘For us, the customer experience is all about good technical knowledge and developing relationships with our customers, and we’re certain that Subaru Newcastle will uphold these values.’


Trusted Dealers partners NFDA USED car website Trusted Dealers has partnered with the National Franchised Dealers Association to launch a new independent consumer helpline. Backed by the National Conciliation and Arbitration service, the mediation hotline for both consumers and dealers is the first of its kind to appear on a classified site. NFDA chief Sue Robinson said: ‘The new hotline represents an important step for the industry as it will provide the first mediation service to be incorporated into a classified site.’

used car sales

Fiesta remains the number one THE Blue Oval’s Fiesta supermini strengthened its lead in the sales charts. September saw the car record more than 20,600 registrations – approximately 6,000 more than its nearest rival the Vauxhall Corsa, which sat in second place. It means the Fiesta is well on course to smash 100,000 units this year. SMMT sales figures, p94

Aston Martin drops Cygnet city car ASTON Martin has dropped the Cygnet city car from its range. Revealed two years ago, the Cygnet left many car fans and journalists unimpressed. It used a Toyota IQ as its underpinnings but sported a fullleather Aston interior and the famous winged badge on the front grille. It is thought the Cygnet was mainly introduced because its super-low CO2 emissions lowered the British marque’s carbon footprint across the range,

allowing it to continue placing large V8 and V12 units in its sports cars. The luxurious city car cost £30,995 at its introduction — £20k more than the Toyota iQ it was based on — and featured an unmodified 97bhp 1.3-litre iQ engine. It’s rumoured because of the British marque’s announcement of a tie-up with AMG to develop more fuel-efficient engines, the Cygnet, 143 of which are thought to have been sold, is no longer needed.

Independents have good year

INDEPENDENT used car dealers have reported strong performance in retail sales, says CAP Automotive. Sales have started to slow for some dealers but the comparison of yearon-year results confirms 2013 as a good year for independents. ‘Dealers are crying out for good partexchanges and are prepared to offer good prices for the best examples,’ said CAP’s Mike Hind. | 39

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DASHBOARD. Randall moves to group role at TMG TRADER Media Group (TMG) has appointed Sharon Randall as group sales director. Randall joined TMG in 1999, holding senior sales and management positions before being appointed UK sales director franchise in 2012. Randall was instrumental in introducing its Package Builder, which aims to deliver a fairer approach to pricing while providing a better response. She said: ‘This is a great opportunity for me. We are operating smarter in partnership with our franchise and group customers to help their businesses be more profitable.’

Mazda UK turns its back on electric ‘WE’VE done electric, but we choose not to pursue it,’ Mazda UK sales director Peter Allibon has told Car Dealer. After producing the fully-electric Mazda 2 ‘Demio EV’, which was leased to local government bodies and fleet customers in Japan last year, new car buyers never got the chance to buy one. ‘Will Mazda venture into the electric sector? It’s a good question. But it’s important to remember that we did build an electric Mazda 2, we just chose not to produce it,’ Allibon explained. ‘We have proved we can be competitive in that segment but, as a brand, we

still see, and research shows, that there is life left in the internal combustion engine.’ Allibon says that while Mazda’s aim is to produce products for the global industry and ultimately produce cars that will sell in volume, the manufacturer sees no need to invest in electric-powered vehicles as the market isn’t there yet. ‘The number of cars we order in from Japan is entirely based upon customer and dealer demand and we believe this will increase,’ said Allibon. ‘However, when looking at the EV sector, there currently isn’t enough global demand due to range anxiety and infrastructure. Our task is to make the internal combustion engine more fuel-efficient by experimenting with compression ratios and reducing weight.’


Stoneacre’s site goes mobile STONEACRE Motor Group is launching an in-house responsive website, which can be accessed on a variety of platforms. The site, designed and built by the group’s in-house developers and social media specialists, can be accessed on desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Around 50 per cent of Stoneacre’s web traffic comes from mobile and tablet devices – 20 per cent up on the previous year. The new site features a clean-cut design and infinite scroll, which allows the user to browse the group stock without having to navigate between pages.

prominent place

MG moves into Gloucester EV version of Mazda 2 hasn’t arrived in the UK

Audi salesman helped boss steal £37,500 from dealership Prison sentence suspended for 18 months as no benefit from crime


n Audi car salesman has avoided prison after helping his manager to defraud £37,500 from the dealership. Gary Smith, 42, admitted swindling Parklands in Gloucester out of the substantial amount of cash with dealership manager Craig Wellings. Gloucester Crown Court was told that sales manager Smith, of Dorothy Crescent, Worcester, hadn’t financially benefited from the stolen money but had been pressured by his co-defendant to help carry out the theft. According to This Is Gloucestershire, prosecutor Edward Hetherington said the two members of staff had created 38 false cashback transactions on sold cars, filtering all the money into an account that belonged to Wellings. Despite Wellings’ claim that Smith had planned to share the cash, financial investigators could find no evidence that Smith benefited from the fraud. Mr Hetherington said: ‘Mr Smith, when arrested, was immediately compliant with

police. He gave full admissions that he played a part — he had altered documents on the instruction of Mr Wellings, but received no financial gain. ‘He had been pressurised and influenced by him.’ He added that Smith had been threatened with dismissal. Judge William Hart told Smith: ‘Despite being as cynical as I need to be, I am satisfied that what you are saying and how you got into this is the truth. You describe yourself as someone that was vulnerable and weak at the time.’ Smith was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work. n Wellings, 44, of Church Lane, Worcester, admitted fraud at an earlier hearing and was later jailed for a year. Gloucester Crown Court was told that he had hatched the scheme because of increasing financial problems supporting two families.

MG has appointed a new dealer in Gloucester. Warners MG will be run by the Warners Motor Group, an independent motor dealer with a 90-year history in Gloucestershire. The new, purpose-built, four-car showroom faces the A38 Eastern Avenue, Gloucester’s ring road, and is one of the most prominent sites in the city.

west midlands

New dealership for Mitsubishi THE Mitsubishi network has opened its 10th new dealership in the UK in the past 12 months at a site in the West Midlands. Autosales Ltd, run by siblings Steve Kibble and Debbie Varnish, has taken on the franchise in Vulcan Road, Bilston. Autosales Ltd joins the company at a time when Mitsubishi is the fastestgrowing brand in the UK. | 41

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DASHBOARD. Caterham teams up to sell Seven in Scotland CATERHAM has joined up with Revolutions to open a dealership in Scotland to specialise in selling the iconic Seven sportscar. The new showroom, based in Perth, establishes a retail hub for Caterham Cars in Scotland and provides service and repair facilities for customers in the region. It is the third addition to Caterham’s list of UK showrooms with its main dealership and sales headquarters recently moved to a new site in Crawley, West Sussex. The Revolutions team has expertise in retailing British-made sportscars, and the 8,000 sq ft facility will allow customers to order any Caterham Seven from the current range, including the latest Seven 620R model. It will also house selected preowned and new vehicles.

Dealer banned from trading until 2025 Classic cars were sold without owners’ knowledge


classic car dealer has been disqualified from trading as a director for 12 years, following an investigation carried out by the Insolvency Service. Andrew Stansfield, director of Classic Benz, was banned from acting as a company director on September 19 after selling cars without the owners’ knowledge or consent. Based in Lancashire, the dealership was placed into liquidation on April 28, 2011 with an estimated debt of £194,024. The investigation found that between March 2010 and the date of liquidation, Classic Benz sold or transferred at least seven vehicles belonging to customers under brokerage sale agreements, without the customers’ knowledge. Stansfield, 53, failed to pass on proceeds of at least £129,250 and it was also found that he benefited from at least one of the

transactions. Proceeds from sales of the remaining six vehicles could not be traced because the transactions were carried out during the period that the company had been removed from the Companies Register. In addition, Stansfield failed to maintain, preserve or deliver adequate accounting records of Classic Benz to the liquidator and there were no details of the company’s continued trading between July 27, 2010 and February 8, 2011 when it had been removed from the Register of Companies. Stansfield gave an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills that he would not manage or in any way control a company or be a director until 2025.


Mitsubishi mulls over special Evo THE Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution may be back in showrooms quicker than expected, as the manufacturer is considering a limited-run Evo X model. ‘The likelihood is that we will do a special edition of 40 for the 40th anniversary, but we are still thinking about it. If we get a really good price we will probably do more than 40, it just depends,’ UK MD Lance Bradley told the website Mitsubishi Matters.



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Broadcaster and motor sport enthusiast

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Renault Kangoo

Fail rate: 36.46 per cent Average mileage: 43,144 Total tests: 3,494


Citroen Berlingo Multispace Fail rate: 32.16 per cent Average mileage: 43,437 Total tests: 7,182


The top 10 cars that fail their first MOT Leon Poultney takes a look at the cars that are most likely to fail their first MOT. And there are some surprises... DATA SOURCE: TOOTCOMPARE.COM


Nissan Navara

Fail rate: 29.41 per cent Average mileage: 46,514 Total tests: 1,955


Chevrolet Captiva

Fail rate: 26.47 per cent Average mileage: 31,894 Total tests: 1,390



Fail rate: 30.76 per cent Average mileage: 38,700 Total tests: 1,749

Fail rate: 26.47 per cent Average mileage: 42,793 Total tests: 3,513

Citroen C4

Fiat Doblo




Fail rate: 29.45 per cent Average mileage: 28,211 Total tests: 1,443

Fail rate: 26.25 per cent Average mileage: 23,482 Total tests: 1,680

Fail rate: 32.14 per cent Average mileage: 23,604 Total tests: 14,610

Peugeot 5008

Fail rate: 31.86 per cent Average mileage: 35,663 Total tests: 2,398

Mazda 5

Mitsubishi L200

Chevrolet Aveo | 45


Extreme showrooms Among the many thousands of dealerships located all over the UK there are some very special ones that come in very different sizes. We contrast our favourite tiny venues in the very north of Scotland with the huge and glamorous offerings to be found in the capital city and the south of England. J Burgess Kia Lerwick, Shetland Isles

Established in 1963, J Burgess in Lerwick, Shetland, was appointed a Kia dealer in 1992 and is one of the longest-serving Kia dealers in the UK. While it is the smallest in size, with an 80m2 showroom housing just three cars, it has the largest Kia market share penetration in the United Kingdom.

GWR Kia West London

GWR Kia in West London will be the largest Kia dealer in the UK when it opens later next year. Although it’s still in development, the new site will be so large that it could accommodate 20 J Burgess showrooms, housing a minimum of 37 cars on its 1,600m2 floor space. 46 |

Car showroom could make way for new homes

WR Tullock & Sons Ltd Orkney

Hendy Ford Hampshire

Based in the remote location of Orkney, W R Tullock & Sons Ltd is Scotland’s oldest and smallest main Ford dealership. It’s well into its second-century partnership, with Ford Motor Co having signed its dealer agreement on August 23, 1912. Henry Ford himself visited the site in Kirkwall in 1915.

Hendy Ford has been a trusted name in motor sales for more than 100 years. Today, Hendy Ford dealerships serve Hampshire and much of the south coast. This site at Eastleigh is the brand’s largest dealership by far, employing 16 staff members including two sales managers.

West London Audi London In contrast to Audi City, this is more of a traditional dealership. Despite this, West London Audi is the UK’s largest Audi centre and comprises seven storeys with over 17,652m2 of space and 32 workshop bays. The showroom opened its doors on October 19, 2009 and has showrooms on three separate floors with the capacity to display 117 Audi models.

Audi City London

Audi City was the first digital Audi showroom, opening on July 16, 2012. Based in London’s Piccadilly, the twin-level showroom has a total floor space of 842m2 with a display space of 420m2. It includes two customer private lounges and has room for only three display vehicles. It aims to give a different customer experience. | 47

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Around the world Dealer news from somewhere other than here


Norwegian car dealers are using a â‚Ź7,000 (just under ÂŁ6,000) ‘green’ grant from the French government to buy vehicles and resell them back in Norway. In other words, a substantial number of electric cars that are on Norwegian roads are funded by the French taxpayer.


China has unveiled a number of EV subsidies in a bid to combat and prevent rising air pollution in its major cities. The government will provide up to the equivalent of ÂŁ6,160 to EV and hydrogenvehicle customers until 2015.


Toyota slipped to third position in US new vehicle sales in September while the overall market shrank from a year earlier for the first time since May 2011 because of fewer days in the month, research company Autodata Corp has said. Dealers sold 1,139,050 cars and light trucks in the US – down 4.2 per cent from a year ago.

south AFRICA

Luxury car sales in South Africa continue to thrive. Porsche recently revealed that in the first half of this year, South Africa was its second-largest buyer in the Middle East and Africa region. Orders have increased by almost 100 per cent in comparison to the last year.


The race for market leadership in the luxury car segment in India between German rivals Mercedes-Benz and Audi, has shifted in favour of the former in September’s new car figures. Mercedes-Benz has re-claimed the number one spot by selling over 1,011 units in the month – 46 units more than Audi achieved.



MG kickstarts sales with deals FOLLOWING the launch of the new MG3. the firm has brought in a range of PCP finance packages to kickstart sales. The entire range is available from £99 per month with zero deposit options also available. The firm’s MG3 is on the market in four specifications, from the top-of-the-range 3Style at £9,999 down to the entry-level MG3 Time for £8,399. Next is the MG3 Form priced at £9,299 and equipped with Bluetooth, DAB radio and climate control. The Form Sport comes in at £9,549 and is equipped with 16-inch Carousel alloy wheels and side skirts. Then there’s the top-end Style, which sits on 16inch diamond-cut alloy wheels and has reverse parking sensors, cruise control and automatic lights, all for £9,999. A deposit of £2,605 secures the entry-level MG3 Time, while a higher deposit of £4,171 is required for the MG3 Style for the same payment across a 35-month period. As with all finance offers, at the end of the 35-month period customers can pay the final instalment, return the car to MG, or trade it in for a newer model.

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New business volumes veer upwards in both new and used car markets in August PCP proves popular as customers benefit from fixed monthly repayments


atest figures released by the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) have revealed that new business volumes in the consumer new car market increased by 20 per cent in August. Looking at used cars, results show that volumes were 17 per cent higher than the same month last year. According to the FLA, the month was also particularly strong for personal contract purchase agreements, which grew by 54 per cent in value to £432m in the new car finance market and by 46 per cent to £198m in the used car finance market. On the other hand, when taking a closer look at hire purchases, there was quite a contrast. Hire purchases in the new car market grew by just one per cent to £124m, while the used car market saw growth of 21 per cent to £485m. Meanwhile, FLA members’ penetration of the private new car registrations market was up

marginally to 74.5 per cent from 74.1 per cent in July. Overall, the number of new cars bought on finance in the 12 months from August 2012 to 2013 is 761,497, while the number of used cars overtakes this figure, with 856,809 vehicles sold on finance. Head of motor finance at the FLA Paul Harrison said: ‘The increase in the proportion of sales using products like personal contact purchase shows that many customers are sensibly

choosing to finance their purchases in a way which is both affordable and flexible. ‘Credit options like PCP are proving popular as customers benefit from fixed monthly repayments and can decide at the end of the deal if they wish to own or return the car.’ He added: ‘These finance deals are secured against the car itself, which means greater protection for consumers and lenders.’

Dacia makes its Duster even more surprisingly affordable DACIA has already set the bar high for the cheapest cars available on the UK market, with its four-model range. But now it’s looking to give customers even more value for their money by introducing a Duster deal of under £100 per month. In other words, Dacia’s flagship Duster is available for the price of a one-litre, three-door Volkswagen Up

city car. Also, to ensure all customers have peace of mind on the road, all Dusters available will come with three years’ free servicing. The offer is available through Dacia Finance and applies to the Duster Access 1.6-litre 4x2 over four years. The only condition is that each Duster has to be ordered and registered by the end of 2013.

For an extra £20 per month, buyers can upgrade to the Ambiance spec with the economic 1.5-litre dCi 4x2 110 engine. This mid-level version comes with Bluetooth and electric front windows. And for a further £20 per month, buyers can take away the range-topping Laureate also with the 4x2 dCi 110 engine, and with electric windows front and rear. association with


Latest finance deals on SMALL SUVs

to kickstart the deal and buyers only need to pay £259 a month over a 36-month payment period. This is based upon an agreed annual mileage of 10,000 miles and this particular settlement also comes with four years’ servicing for £399. The CR-V is known for being an ideal and robust Sports Utility Vehicle, with an average combined fuel consumption of between 36.7 and 50.4mpg. It has long been a popular choice for families across the UK looking for a comfortable and frugal cruiser.

TOYOTA RAV4 TOYOTA’S Rav4 is one of the more technologically-equipped of this month’s contenders, featuring exterior extras and high-end gadgets. For a higher deposit than the Honda CR-V at £6,483, the Rav4 Active 2.0 D-4D can be driven away for 34 monthly payments of a reasonable £229 with a 4.9 per cent APR representative. The deal also comes with a £1,000 deposit allowance plus a five-year and 100,000-mile manufacturer warranty. This model comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, a powered rear door, dual-zone

air conditioning, rain-sensing wipers and Toyota’s easy-to-use touchscreen multimedia system.

KIA SPORTAGE ARGUABLY one of the better-looking SUVs in this month’s top deals, Kia’s Sportage is available for a low 4.9 per cent finance rate with a 10 per cent minimum deposit. The offer applies to the entire Sportage range, which carries a number of essential credentials to tackle urban roads. It has an on-the-road cash price of £17,990, but for a customer deposit of £3,845 the 1.6-litre GDi version is on offer for £245 per month across 36 monthly payments. It’s the perfect car for family

time is money

The customer is king

HONDA CR-V TOPPING this month’s finance deals is Honda’s CR-V PCP offer, which can be bought from just £259 a month with zero per cent APR representative. A deposit of £5,673.81 is all that’s needed


adventures and has a combined fuel consumption figure of 54.3mpg and emits 135g/km of CO2.


ow ‘customer-centric’ do you think your business is? Much is being made of the need to have a strong web presence, with dynamic search engine optimisation that delivers outstanding site visitor numbers which then boosts footfall and, significantly, increases car sales. But, in the midst of all this activity, where is the customer? Surely the important thing to remember is that it’s how we relate to our customer that counts, not the technology we use? Whilst modern technology can provide many benefits, it cannot replace the fundamental need for us to treat our customers fairly, with respect and integrity, because, and I’m sure you’ll agree, selling cars is all about people and how we serve their individual needs. Gaining a reputation for putting the customer first is worth all our advertising and marketing budgets combined — it’s a major factor in determining how much a business will grow. We have an operating principle at First Response that says: ‘Ensure that what matters to our customers is at the heart of what we do.’ What does this mean? Well, if whatever we’re doing isn’t servicing a customer’s needs or making it easy for the customer to do business with us, then we are obliged to challenge why we’re doing it. The success of how well we put this principle into practice can be measured in the substantial increase in customers who remain with us for a second and third vehicle, as well as the growing number of car dealers who add us to their panel of lenders. We would suggest that it makes more sense to invest time and effort ensuring that your staff understand the value of customer retention and customer referrals than to continuously waste huge amounts of money advertising for new customers — because it’s all about the people.

‘Selling cars is all about serving individual needs’

Who is Jim Meldrum?

Jim is regional sales manager for First Response Finance. Call him on 07917 460111 or email | 51

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big mike.

All Big Mike’s columns are on our website. Enjoy here

My lie of 40 years ago became an expensive (but worthwhile) truth


othing makes you feel your age more than having middle-aged children, so it was with a small amount of trepidation that the memsahib and I celebrated our eldest son’s 40th birthday at the weekend. We celebrated our ruby anniversary by doing the only thing possible to mark the occasion — by going out for a ruby murray. I’m not entirely sure if Mrs Mike saw the romance in such an occasion, but for a died-in-the-wool Midlander like me, nothing beats a chicken jalfrezi and a side order of garlic bhaji (albeit the latter is the ultimate passion killer but then again, at my age...). At this stage, you’re probably wondering why I’m taking you on a random trip down memory lane. Well, there are two reasons. One is because I’m a slightly puddled old git and you should be grateful that I didn’t begin this column with ‘During the war…’, and the second is that it got me thinking of one of my earliest and most embarrassing carrelated stories. I’d met my future first wife (I call her that to keep her on her toes) a few weeks earlier in the Bat and Barrel. She was working for a local estate agent and wooed me in the way that young female estate agents do — by having marvellous legs and wearing a miniskirt that would perhaps have better served as a scarf. We were introduced by a mutual friend and after spending that week’s commission plying her with Gordon’s and tonic, we agreed to meet up in the centre of Birmingham the following Saturday. At the time, I was a junior salesman for a local and slightly rogueish used car dealership, and my daily transport, then as it is now, was whatever unsaleable rubbish we’d taken in part-ex that still had a valid MoT and tax disc. At that time I was driving something particularly vile — a 1960 Ford Anglia with two holes in the exhaust silencer as the previous owner thought it made it sound sporty. It was hand-painted in left-over military green paint from World War Two. Luckily, the paint was so thick it helped the filler to cling valiantly to the sills, though the floors were so frilly that any puddle meant wet feet. Still, I was 20, and it was wheels. Our first date was in an upmarket establishment that served chicken without a basket and had pioneered Birmingham’s first prawn cocktails. The future Mrs M was treated to two courses and we guzzled our way through two bottles of Pinot Grigio, as these were the days when most people driving home on a Saturday night were half-pissed. I’m not

Big Mike Our man on the inside spills the beans on the car business...

sanctioning it, just saying it was the way of the day. Suitably woozy, we staggered out into the cool night air and I began a rather awkward battle in my mind. Should I offer her a lift home in the hope it might lead to being invited in for coffee, or even the possibility of a quick stop-off in a layby on the way home, or should I hope to goodness that wouldn’t happen until the next date, when hopefully my old man would lend me the keys to his rather more upmarket Rover P5. Thinking more with my anatomy than my brain, I went ahead and offered her the lift. Her response was a combination of relief and disappointment to me — she’d driven into town in her own car, so while she appreciated my offer she would be perfectly fine if I walked her back to the car park. As we strolled back through row upon row of Austins, Morrises and tired-looking Fords, my eye

‘We were alongside the shiny E-Type... so this is me, I winked, leaning on the big cat’s rump’ was captured by a rather more appealing sight, a stunning Jaguar E-Type Coupe in British Racing Green, gleaming away under the orange glow of a streetlamp. I asked the good lady where her car was parked, and when she indicated towards the back row of the car park, just down from the Jaguar, I hit upon a wildly sneaky idea that I hoped would up my ratings in the sex appeal stakes. ‘Oh, it’s right by mine,’ I said warmly. ‘I’ll show it to you on the way past.’ A couple of moments later, we were alongside the shiny E-Type. ‘So, er, this is me…’ I winked, leaning casually on the big cat’s curvaceous rump. ‘She cost me a few quid, but I tell you, she’s a lovely motor…’ The future Mrs M looked perplexed. Maybe it was my lack of outward fashion sense or broad Brummie accent that meant she couldn’t make the association between me (in my own eyes, a lean and dapper young mule) and the E-Type. But no, it was worse… she reached into her handbag, withdrew her car keys and walked to the door of the Jag and fired her up, scorching the back of my drainpipe trousers with the E-Type’s quad exhaust. Amazingly, she did want to meet up for a second date, and after 40 years my lie has turned itself into truth. Yep, she sure cost me a few quid….

Who is Big Mike?

Well, that would be telling. What we do know is he’s had 30 years in the car trade and picked up some seriously funny tales along the way. | 53

54 |


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Vauxhall taking the number one spot? Aldred must be joking


umped up on what I can only assume was motor show press day adrenaline and bravado, Vauxhall’s chairman and MD Duncan Aldred (pictured below) proudly boasted to a national newspaper that his firm would ‘overtake Ford by 2016’. Yes, you read that right. Vauxhall, purveyor of the insipid Insignia and awful Astra, would, in only a matter of years, snatch the number one crown from the Blue Oval’s grasp — something it hasn’t managed to do in decades. ‘I expect us to be number one,’ he continued. ‘I have very high hopes for the Vauxhall brand in the UK.’ Very high hopes? Seriously? As understatements go, that is a Burger King-sized Whopper. Unless the Luton contingent has got some very big tricks up its sleeves — and by big tricks I mean a whole new range of cars that are actually worth buying — then I can only see those few words coming back to haunt Vauxhall’s top boss. I rang the SMMT to find out when was the last time Vauxhall beat Ford in the annual sales figures. You know the answer? Never. Not once has the manufacturer usurped Ford’s top spot in the charts. SMMT’s number-crunchers went back over the past 40 years of stats for me — to 1972 when the organisation started using a system which recorded registrations by brands — and found that Vauxhall has never been the number one seller. The closest it ever got to this position was back in the heady car sales days of 2007. Then — with the Focus battling the Astra, and Corsa taking on the Fiesta — the difference between them was ‘just’ 17,661 cars. Last year it was more than double that, with 49,662 cars between the first- and second-placed enemies. I rang Ford to ask them what they thought of the Vauxhall boss’s bold claims, and they weren’t particularly concerned. ‘Ford has been the market leader in the UK for more than 35 years — over 40 years for CVs — and we’ve done it through having the best possible product range, by prioritising customer service and having excellent representation via our dealer partners. We welcome competition but we have confidence in this formula.’ So has Vauxhall lost the plot? That’s quite a question, I know, but it’s one that I find it is not just me asking these days. I’ve been talking to a few of the top bosses running Vauxhall franchises across the country recently, and it transpires they’re as concerned as I am. So what’s got them grumbling? Well, behind closed doors, the retailers I spoke to were concerned the current products simply aren’t hitting the mark, and they’re also

James Baggott *EDITOR’S NOTE: something tells me he isn’t joking*

worried there is no way they can win the race in the sales charts. Publicly, the manufacturer’s dealer network is giving Vauxhall a kicking too — the maker dropped 10 places in our Car Dealer Power survey this year to 22, just seven places off the bottom of the table, and a staggering 16 places behind Ford, who narrowly missed out on a podium finish. The marque was lambasted for poor return on investment, while forward planning, brand awareness and marketing were all knocked too. Makes grim reading, doesn’t it? And it’s not just the trade that isn’t impressed. There are few consumer magazines that would recommend a Vauxhall over their Ford-badged equivalent. Fiesta v Corsa? No question. Ford wins that. Focus v Astra? Another blue corner win. Insignia v Mondeo? Even now, with the Mondeo in desperate need of a revamp (coming next year) most buyers would be better off with the Ford than the recently-refreshed Insignia. And it’s hardly worth mentioning the woeful Mokka or

‘I’ve been talking to top bosses running Vauxhall franchises and they’re as concerned as I am’ poorly-targeted and disappointing-to-drive Adam. What Car? said that of all the versions it’s driven, the Adam is ‘just too uncomfortable to recommend’. Hardly going to tempt premium buyers into swapping the ‘sure-fire hit’ (again, What Car?’s words, not ours) Audi A1 for the Vauxhall badge is it? Boss Aldred told me at the Paris Motor Show, a little over a year ago, that he was pulling the brand away from unprofitable fleet sales and focusing on retail (a dealerpleaser) instead. ‘We are moving away from grabbing market share at all costs — we won’t target fleet sales just to grow registrations,’ he said. Seems strange that there’s been a sudden change of heart. With its current model line-up, the only way I can see Vauxhall toppling Ford is to push its products into the fleet sector again. It has to be. Can you see a punter spending their own cash on a current Vauxhall model over anything else out there? I can’t and, it appears, neither can many of the marque’s own dealers. Doesn’t bode well for the number one spot, does it? What do you think? Tweet me @CarDealerEd and let me know. I’d be interested to hear your views.

Who is James Baggott?

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. | 55



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REAL DEALS. association with

Star Caterham R500 comes to the market This little beauty has only 2,000 miles on the clock, says Sophie Williamson-Stothert


aterham cars have always been the ultimate driver’s car, with their signature vintage looks and top-class driveability hot-wired into each model’s DNA. That’s certainly the case with this one-of-a-kind Caterham R500. It’s quite simply like looking for a needle in a haystack when it comes to finding a one-off Caterham, and it’s not every day you spot a fully race-prepped conversion. With its monstrous performance and background of motorsport heritage, this little track-day adrenaline pumper is definitely unique, and that’s pretty self-explanatory in its number plate: R1 WOW. This R500 conformed to the brand’s selling methods of giving its buyers the opportunity to buy it ready-built or packaged up and ready to piece together themselves, but actually this little car has no ordinary background, nor has it ever been an ordinary Caterham. Currently for sale at Newmans in Southampton, this R500 machine is possibly one of the only racing Caterham R500s left in the UK. The car was originally built by David Ketteridge of Taylors Foundry Motorsport back in 1999, who put together a number of championship winning cars, which competed in the Powertrain Caterham R400 Challenge. He himself is known as ‘one of the best builders there has ever been’, says Newmans. The Challenge’s sponsor, Taran Microsystems, adored the little cars so much, it asked Ketteridge to build a Caterham to the same spec as the racing cars, but this time with even more power.

Enter the R500. ‘The owner of Taran Microsystems asked David Ketteridge to build him a car that was similar to the racing cars and he’s kept it locked in the garage ever since,’ says Guy Foster of Newmans. ‘It’s only got 2,000 miles on the clock!’ This R500, finished in metallic blue, features a number of extras in comparison to a standard car, ultimately turning it into a fullyfledged race car. This is mostly due to its Minister Racing Engine upgrade that produces 243bhp. ‘It’s a very extreme car for the road,’ says Foster. ‘It produces 500bhp per tonne and that’s pushing the boundaries of motorbike performance on four wheels.’ Ensuring this track-car toy is comfortable on the road, it has a full race-approved roll cage, a full windscreen and reinforced floor pans. ‘It’s the same spec as a Taran racer, but to make sure it’s comfortable when it’s used on the road and to provide safety, it has a full screen instead of an aero shield and a full roll cage for protection,’ explains Foster. If you take a deeper look at its genius engine, it’s undertaken tuning from every aspect. It’s fitted with mechanical tappets and lightweight flatback valves, a Caterham magnesium inlet manifold featuring roller barrel throttle actuation, a Caterham-designed dry-sump system with magnesium pan and belltank housing, Cosworth pistons and a forged steel crankshaft and con rods. The engine is bolted to an ultra close-ratio aluminum six-speed manual gearbox,

which uses an AP racing lightweight clutch with an ultra-lightweight low inertia flywheel and limited slip differential. Thanks to its mega upgrades, it has a maximum power output of 230bhp at 8,600rpm and will max out at 9,200rpm. It can go from 0-60mph in a remarkable 3.4 seconds and go on to reach 150mph. ‘It’s a superb little car,’ says Foster. ‘I’m sure there’s nothing else quite like it, even next to an Ariel Atom.’ It certainly looks the business too, with its carbon-fibre theme covering the nose cone, front and rear wings, dashboard and exterior mirrors, which also contribute to making this little car one of the lightest on the road, weighing just 490kg. It sits on three-piece magnesium light alloy wheels, is finished with black powder-coated interior and engine bay, and drivers will be strapped tightly into Tillet-manufactured race seats with a four-point harness. ‘This little car is definitely one of a kind and it’s been kept locked away in the owner’s garage since it was built,’ says Foster. ‘It’s definitely a playtime car and worth a lot of money, with a retail price of £29,995.’ Visit to start your free 14-day trial. [CD] | 57

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Two brand-new engines are on offer: a 2.2litre turbo diesel and a 3.5-litre V6 mated to an electric motor

Unlike German rivals that favour dashboards with fewer buttons, the Q50 is the complete opposite


Infiniti has made the Q50 look a lot more European. There are sharp creases instead of Infiniti’s traditional swooping curves

Infiniti Q50

the knowledge

Infiniti believes that the European luxury car market is in need of a shake-up. Meet its new effort — Leon Poultney reports What is it? The poor BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-class must be sick of all of these new premium saloons coming on to the market and battling for a place in the heart of reps up and down the country. Infiniti’s new Q50 is no different in its mission statement — offering style, sophistication and new technology that have the potential to transform the typically US-only marque into a dominant force in Europe.

What’s under the bonnet? Two brand-new engines will be winging their way to the UK. A 2.2-litre turbo diesel offers around 168bhp and can be specified with either a six-speed manual transmission or a silky smooth seven-speed automatic with flappy paddles. A more potent 3.5-litre V6 petrol hybrid is also on offer, and that kicks out an impressive 360bhp thanks to assistance from a 50kW electric motor. The latter is perhaps

the most interesting as it is one of the most powerful hybrid systems on the market today. But the diesel is guilty of lacking refinement. Its noise intrudes in the cabin and it doesn’t have the V6’s performance punch.

What’s the spec like? The Infiniti Q50 is a gadget geek’s paradise. Unlike many other premium brands, Infiniti has also opted to provide the driver with traditional knobs and switches so the interior ends up looking more like the cockpit of a commercial airliner than a motorcar. Regardless, everything works well and is intuitive, plus the ‘fatigue-free’ leather seats designed by Nasa really are ‘out-ofthis-world’ comfortable. Prices start at £27,950, while the Q50 Hybrid will cost £40,000.

extremely accomplished motorway cruiser that, once all the settings have been fathomed, can be tweaked and transformed into a spirited drive. It doesn’t quite match the BMW 3 Series for composure and balance under hard driving, though.

What do the press think of it? Auto Express said: ‘The Infiniti Q50 is a bold addition to its class, even if the execution is not quite up to scratch,’ while Autocar believed the Q50 is ‘all in all, a worthy successor to the old Infiniti G. It’s attractive, well equipped and nicely appointed.’


The Q50 is an interesting proposition. It is keenly priced (in basic diesel guise), crammed with technology, and What’s it like the V6 hybrid can genuinely be fun to drive? to drive. While we celebrate forward Fantastically smooth, comfortable and movement in the car industry, we quiet. The 3.5-litre engine coupled can’t help but feel some of the Q50’s with the hybrid system make for an USPs don’t work particularly well.

Model: Infiniti Q50S Hybrid Price: £40,000 Engine: 3.5-litre V6 petrol 50kW electric motor Power: 360bhp, 544Nm Max speed: 155mph (limited) 0-60mph: 5.1s MPG (comb’d): 45.6mpg Emissions: 144g/km Residual values (three years): tbc

target buyers: Those customers bored with the usual German executive car offerings

the rivals: BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4

Key Selling Points: 1. An impressive display of technological might that all actually works 2. Spirited driving experience, particularly in the 3.5 litre V6 3. Keenly priced and efficient to run

Deal Clincher:

Owners will impress friends with the plethora of gadgetry Searches supplied by Monthly searches: N/A (new model) | 59

forecourt. cabin


It’s as nice as the A3’s — which is a paradigm of taste and common sense. Options are expensive, though

A brand-new engine: a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder. Doesn’t bark like the 2.5-litre five-pot in the old RS3


There’s not much to distinguish the S3 over the A3 S Line — but there’s enough. Note the different grille and side skirts

Audi S3 Sportback

The German firm is making its sporty S models available to all; meet the family man’s hot hatch. James Batchelor has driven it What is it?

What’s the spec like?

Audi knows how to build a fast and refined hot hatchback. Its RS3 model, launched in 2011, showed that the Ingolstadt-based carmaker understood what made hot hatch buyers tick. But that model has died, and to make sure its rivals don’t run away completely, Audi has created the S3. Now available as a five-door version called the S3 Sportback, Audi is giving UK buyers a choice when it comes to selecting their next performance-minded hatchback.

In light of its sporty positioning in the A3 range, the S3 Sportback gets an aluminium-look front grille, more pronounced front and rear bumpers, edgier side sills, a roof spoiler, four exhaust pipes and a 25mm drop in ride height. On the inside, there are S3 dials with an integrated turboboost gauge, a flat-bottomed multifunction steering wheel, aluminium pedals, leather upholstery, sports seats, Bluetooth and 4G compatibility. Base price for the S3 Sportback is a competitive £31,260 for the manual and £32,740 for the S tronic — but our test car was awash with tasty extras and had an RRP of £43,425!

What’s under the bonnet? A brand-new 2.0-litre four-cylinder TFSI engine that pumps out 296bhp — 33bhp more than the outgoing S3’s engine — and 380Nm of torque. All of this means the S3 Sportback can top 155mph (electronically limited), return 40.9mpg on the combined cycle, and get to 60mph in 5.1 seconds or 4.7 seconds when the excellent seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic ’box is fitted. 60 |

What’s it like to drive? With all that power on tap and linked to Audi’s indefatigable quattro fourwheel-drive system, the S3 Sportback makes for a speedy cross-country machine. It’s tidy in the corners too, with great body control, bearable ride

quality and a sense that it’s light on its feet. But it’s certainly not the last word in driver involvement.

What do the press think of it? Car said: ‘The S3 is a blast and takes the necessary step up from lowerspec VW Group cars in acceleration numbers, features, price and in the overall experience.’

What DO WE THINK OF IT? The S3 continues its family heritage of giving owners a sense of being cocooned from the outside world, thanks to a tasteful interior and capable driving abilities. The S3 is fun, and with its commodious boot — there’s 1,060 litres when the seats are folded — it makes for a great all-rounder. More than that, the S3 points the way for a cracking RS3 in the future. In the meantime, owners won’t be disappointed with an S3. But, for us, it just doesn’t get us as excited as the BMW M135i does.

the knowledge Model: Audi S3 Sportback 2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic Price: £43,425 (as tested) Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol Power: 296bhp, 380Nm Max speed: 155mph (limited) 0-60mph: 4.7s MPG (comb’d): 40/9mpg Emissions: 159g/km Residual values (three years): 39 per cent

target buyers: Mostly retail and buyers after a hot hatch with a decent dose of practicality

the rivals: BMW M135i, Mercedes A45 AMG, Volvo V40 T5 R-Design

Key Selling Points: 1. Tremendously comfortable and refined 2. Interior build-quality is best in class 3. Has Q-car styling — a good warm-up act before a new RS3 in the future

Deal Clincher:

The most economical compared to its rivals Searches supplied by Monthly searches: 322,849

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Two petrols and three diesels. Only the latter will appeal to most buyers; new 2.0-litre diesel is good but noisy

It’s huge. With the seats down, there’s over 2,000 litres on offer. And, for the most part, it’s well built and packed with kit


Seven-seat version gets a completely new rear over five-seater. It’s both smarter and a lot quirkier

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Citroen is cashing in on its winning Picasso formula and has produced a car to beat all rivals. James Batchelor tries it for size What is it? Citroen is patting itself on the back after its new five-seat Picasso has attracted more than 2,800 orders from UK buyers so far this year – 300 per cent more than the French firm was forecasting. And now the company is getting très excité with the arrival of this new seven-seat version called the Grand C4 Picasso. The car appears on sale in January.

What’s under the bonnet? There are two petrols — both codeveloped with BMW and 1.6-litres in capacity. They come with power outputs of 120bhp and 156bhp — the latter being turbocharged. But of far more relevance to UK buyers are the diesels. There are two 1.6litre units with 92bhp and 115bhp power outputs. While the lowerpowered diesel impressively emits just 98g/km of CO2 and returns a claimed 74.3mpg, we only had the opportunity to drive Citroen’s brandnew 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel engine.

It pushes out a healthy 148bhp and yet manages 67mpg and 110g/km (or 117g/km when the six-speed automatic gearbox is fitted). It’s the engine that makes the most sense in a car this size — but it isn’t the quietest unit around.

What’s the spec like? Citroen hasn’t confirmed specification levels yet but our test car was the top-of-the-range Exclusive+ model and gave a strong indication of what we can expect. Inside, the car had limo-levels of kit including Star Trek-style seats with fabulously comfortable headrests and a footrest for the front-seat passenger. Our car also had two-tone leather upholstery, a powered tailgate and keyless entry and start, but every Grand C4 Picasso comes with Bluetooth, alloys and USB connectivity. There’ll be four trims — VTR, VTR+, Exclusive and Exclusive+ and indicative prices range from £19,200 for the VTR VTi 120 to £27,900 for the BlueHDi 150 automatic Exclusive+.

What’s it like to drive? The Grand C4 Picasso’s ride is the car’s pièce de résistance — it really mixes a floaty ride with capable body control admirably well.

What do the press think of it? Auto Express was impressed, saying: ‘The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso has always been one of the best MPVs and this latest model takes things even further.’

What DO WE THINK OF IT? Despite some minor niggles with the car’s infotainment system, there’s no denying Citroen has pulled off a masterstroke here. With the two rows of seats folded flat, this car has 2,181 litres on offer, making it the most stylish mini van around. It’s not bad to drive, built well in our eyes and is sure to be competitively priced. Perhaps the world can build desirable MPVs after all.

the knowledge Model: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso BlueHDi 150 Exclusive+ 6-spd manual Price: £27,000 (estimated) Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, diesel Power: 148bhp, 370Nm Max speed: 130mph 0-60mph: 9.5s MPG (comb’d): 63mpg Emissions: 110g/km Residual values: tbc

target buyers: Mostly retail buyers with large families who enjoy the outdoors; company drivers

the rivals: Renault Grand Scenic, Ford Grand C-Max, Kia Carens

Key Selling Points: 1. Quality is a big step up from the previous version 2. Inside feels massive due to clever use of materials 3. With low emissions from 98g/km, kind to the pocket for company car drivers

Deal Clincher:

One of — if not the — most commodious in class Searches supplied by Monthly searches: 176,850 | 61


‘I run my business alone he industry is driven by a number of charismatic characters and if you take a close look behind the scenes of independent dealers you’ll always find the most enthusiastic of them running the business. Specialist independent dealer Umesh Samani is a perfect example. He’s dedicated to running his business, he’s always in high spirits and the motor trade certainly enjoys his quirky comments and waves of opinionated views on Twitter — it’s safe to say he’s got his social media skills aced! Samani founded his small family business, known as Specialist Cars, in 1997 in Staffordshire. He decided on this as the next step in his career after working as a salesman at a main VW Audi dealership for 15 years. Based in Stoke-on-Trent, Samani sells a wide variety of vehicles from his small dealership in Elder Road. From 8.30am sometimes until 7 or 8pm, he has passion pouring from his pores. ‘I run the dealership alone and I’m always learning,’ says Samani. ‘If I’m not here, the doors don’t open. But I love what I do and I enjoy running my business, especially because of all the new people I get to meet.’ Trained as a qualified

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To experience the real world of independent car retailing, Sophie Williamson-Stothert met Umesh Samani, one of the industry’s most vibrant characters mechanic, Samani manages to run his business as a one-man band but still generates enough local interest to buy and sell a satisfactory number of quality cars each month. However, these sales aren’t always achieved through the usual methods of car dealing, where the majority of sales are made within the dealership showroom. In fact, throughout his years as an independent dealer, Samani has learnt that building relationships with his customers is the key to generating leads and making the majority of his sales. Samani searches for and buys a substantial number of cars to meet the particular needs of his regular clients. ‘I buy 20 to 30 per cent of vehicles offered to me, as long as they match the requirements and criteria of my customer,’ says Samani. ‘I work with my customers to find cars which suit their individual needs

and not many dealers do this.’ Even when the forecourt remains quiet, Samani manages to keep busy by doing exactly that. On an average day, he takes anything from five to 10 calls all for that very reason, and when potential customers do come in to browse the stock, Samani refrains from questioning or hassling them at the chance of making a sale. Instead, he lets buyers browse at their own pace. ‘It’s not just about making sales, it’s about building a relationship. A large majority of my customers become friends,’ Samani explains. ‘I sold roughly five cars this month and there

Vertu boss handed special award

— I’m always learning’ is a lot of trust on both sides. Of the sales I made, three were previous customers and two were new. In most cases, these were blind sales; my clients trust me to find them the car they are looking for and that I have found them a legitimate one.’ What’s more surprising about Specialist Cars is the fact that Samani does not buy stock from auction houses. He much prefers to view, touch and feel exactly what he’s buying rather than take any risks. ‘Eighty per cent of my stock I have bought from previous owners,’ Samani explains. ‘I like to know what I’m buying and I like to see and get to know the customer.’ While auction houses are out of the question, online auctions are also off the list. But Samani explains that his aims and ambitions are just the same as any other dealer, whether they’re independent or franchise. ‘I’m not keen on the idea of using online auctions,’ says Samani. ‘I’m far too fussy when it comes to my stock and it’s personal to me. ‘I’m still trying to buy and sell as much as possible, but in a different way. I promote my business locally and make sure that customers are aware that I buy cars for cash, all of which are prepared ready-to-retail.’ The majority of cars in Samani’s stock are ready

to be sold and driven away the same day, and to ensure that customers travelling from a long distance can take their new vehicle away, Samani will help in any way he can to prepare the car. ‘All the cars I stock are ready to drive away and if a customer wants one they can take it,’ he says. ‘Eighty per cent of them are ready to turn and go. One time, I actually went to the post office to tax a vehicle while the customer was drinking his cup of tea. ‘This also gives me the chance to buy new stock and replace the vehicles I sell straight away. This means I’m never short of stock and always ready to make more sales.’ He adds: ‘I’m extremely fussy when it comes to service history, and everyday a vehicle is sat on my forecourt it’s not making money. But I don’t worry about how long the cars are on the forecourt — I don’t have the pressure to sell like the larger franchise dealers do.’ These sales also help Samani to generate further leads, as his satisfied customers ultimately spread the news of the generous customer service they receive at Specialist Cars and he finds new customers are always being referred. ‘It’s like a continuous cycle,’ says Samani. ‘My customers end up recommending me to their friends or family and they then contact me

when they are looking to buy their next car. Word of mouth and recommendations are the best form of advertising – money can’t buy that. The leads I have to keep finding cars are what keep me going.’ Samani finds that local and online advertising is crucial to the running of his business, not just to make sales but also to remind people of the service Specialist Cars offers. ‘It’s not just about stock, it’s about the business and reminding people about the brand,’ Samani explains. ‘Giving potential customers the opportunity to read previous customer reviews and comments is extremely important.’ Looking to the future, Samani is very keen to explore and develop his multimedia skills. In fact, he has already produced a number of small YouTube videos that give a brief overview of the vehicles he has on sale. He believes video content is the next step in building the future of Specialist Cars. ‘I’ve started producing videos of cars and posting them on my Specialist Cars YouTube channel. ‘I really hope to develop and progress with this in the future,’ Samani explains. ‘Video production is definitely the next big thing to introduce to the business.’ [CD]

Sophie asking the tough questions | 63

FEATURE. Our annual feature is always a tricky one to call, but this year’s has been the hardest — ever. We got together our favourites from the past 12 months and travelled to Wales to find out which captures our heart . PICTURES: MAX EAREY

t’s Day Three of Road Test of the Year and I’ve just got home from some of the most enjoyable days’ driving of my life. I’ve been spoilt by £650,000worth of cars to play with on some of Wales’s most beautiful roads. I’ve spent an obscene amount of money on super unleaded (so much so my credit card company called me to check I really was haemorrhaging THAT much money on fuel). And I’ve jumped in and out of every test car we’ve had here — a collection of our favourite vehicles launched in your showrooms in the past 12 months — more times than I can remember. But I’ve got a problem. I can’t, no matter how hard I think about it, decide which of these cars I like the best. We’ve been organising RTOTY for six years now and every time I’ve been able to name

Ford Fiesta ST

Audi RS6 Avant

the winner on Day One — there’s always been a stand-out car. But this year it’s very different indeed. Why? Well, because in the past 12 months car manufacturers have truly been turning on the style and upping their game like never before. Each car here is brilliant for different reasons and it’s very hard to place one above the other overall. And that means we need a system — and by Jove I love a good system. But before I get there, a few introductions. Firstly to our line-up: Travelling with us to Wales are some very important cars. Up first is the Jaguar F-Type, a car that has the unenviable task of living up to one of Britain’s icons — the E-Type. I drove this car on the launch earlier this year and declared it then to be my car of the year. This was supposed to be my chance to prove I was right.

BMW M6 Gran Coupe

Range Rover Sport

road test of the

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Next up, another Jaguar Land Rover stablemate, the Range Rover Sport. The SUV combines luxury, sporting ability and goanywhere credentials like nothing else on this planet. It’s a brilliant machine, but can it compete with out-and-out sports cars? From Germany we have the new Audi RS6 — the fastest way to transport dogs in the world — and the BMW M6 Gran Coupe with an amazing frosted-blue paint job. But you really don’t care about the paint, do you? Also from the Fatherland comes the Porsche Cayman S. A car my colleagues have been raving about. This was the first time we all got to spend some proper time behind the wheel and we couldn’t wait to find out if it really was as good as everyone says it is.

Bentley Continental GTC Speed

From the Crewe corner comes the housepriced Bentley Continental GTC Speed. Don’t ask why it’s in left-hand drive form (we thought it best not to mention it); we were too distracted by the smell of money oozing out of the seats. And our wild card comes from Ford. The potential giant-slaying, er, Fiesta. Yes, you read that right, Fiesta. This is the ST — a turbocharged little firecracker that serves up driving thrills in American fast-food-sized Coca Cola portions. It may cost less than £20k but it has every right to be here. So those are the cars, now to the test team. Heading to Wales are yours truly editor Batch, head of video Nigel and writers Leon, DJ, and Jon. I’ll be handing the keyboard-bashing baton on to each of them to let them talk you through

Jaguar F-Type V6S

the cars, before returning with some science at the end. So to ‘The System’ I alluded to earlier. As this feature is about the most exciting cars in showrooms, and only that, we need to steer the scoring towards the fun factor. You’d never see these cars together anywhere else, they just don’t make sense to club as one, so we’ll be scoring the cars with fun as the most important factor. Then, in the following order, desirability, styling, performance, handling, comfort, practicality and, lastly, price, with a score out of 10 by each of the writers for each category apart from fun and desirability, which will each be marked out of 15. A total of 100 points available from each scribe for each car. It’s confusing, but it’s a system…. James Baggott (@CarDealerEd)

Porsche Cayman S | 65

FEATURE. Road Test of the Year 2013 CONTINENTAL GTC SPEED The entire Shell garage had been brought to a standstill, locals had never seen such a collection of metal in one place at one time and it was causing quite a stir. A man dumped his Astra van on the side of the road and wandered straight over, making a beeline for the Azure Purple Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible I was pumping hundreds of pounds-worth of unleaded petrol into. ‘That’s lovely, that,’ said the van man in a thick Welsh accent. ‘I bet it set you back a few quid,’ he added. Yes, Mr Van Driver, the car theoretically set me back quite a few quid… £188,685 to be exact. But this is the impact a car with a Beluga hide and linen interior has. The mere whiff of those seats and the hand-stitched steering wheel has bystanders positively salivating, eyeing up the driver and questioning what you do for a living. Women get down on one knee, men want to

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kill you. Readers may be thinking that a big, expensive Bentley looks out of place amongst the lithe sports cars and performance saloons we have here on the tight, twisting routes of Road Test of the Year, and you would be right. Despite being a Speed iteration of the iconic GT and notwithstanding the fact it sports an enormous 6-litre W12 engine that produces 616bhp, it still lacks the dynamism of say, the BMW M6 or the Audi RS6. But nothing up here in the Brecon Beacons can match the Bentley’s opulence; it simply oozes quintessential British style and charisma. One only needs to slide into the front seat to realise the number of man-hours invested in an interior like that of our car. In a world of super- economic manufacturing processes, Bentley remains a marque that will unashamedly spend days polishing a knurled gear-shifter. Performance-wise, the GT Speed unfortunately disappointed, given the company

it was in. Hop out of the Porsche Cayman S and the Speed’s wallowing chassis and vague steering are highlighted, then jump in the RS6 and it soon becomes apparent that spleen-bursting acceleration and pant-staining top speeds are both achievable in a machine that can transport an entire family and their accoutrements. But as I sat atop a blustery hill looking out over the rolling countryside that south Wales has on offer, the Bentley’s built-in television chattering in the background, I realised that every single person pulling into this gravelled car park was eyeing up the purple continent crosser. There were no jaws dropping to the floor, no whoops of delight at the crackling engine, just sincere nods of approval from fellow enthusiasts who can still spot quality a mile off. And for that reason, the Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible remains a very special car. Leon Poultney (@BlokesInCars)

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One only needs to slide into the front seat to UNDERSTAND the NUMBER of man-hours invested in THE interior

the knowledge: bentley continental GTC SPEED Price: Engine: Power: Max speed: 0-60mph: MPG (comb’d): Emissions:

£188,685 (as tested) 6.0-litre, W12 twin-turbocharged petrol 616bhp, 800Nm 205mph 4.0s 19.5 338g/km | 67

FEATURE. Road Test of the Year 2013 FORD FIESTA ST

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There’s no getting away from it: I’d been given the short straw. Sitting slap bang in the middle of the M4’s most expensive convoy, I suddenly became very aware that I was behind the wheel of not a W12 convertible or flat-six coupe but a 1.6-litre hatchback. It wasn’t long, though, before the flame-roastedorange Fiesta revealed itself to be something of a secret weapon. The first benefit became clear at Baron Baggott’s beloved Chievely Services. While Batch in the Range Rover Sport and DJ in the M6 both had gritted teeth trying to navigate into what could generously be described as ‘spaces’, the diddly Fiesta got flung into the nearest one with just a flick of the leather-covered steering wheel. As for Leon in the Bentley, I was halfway through my Americano before he’d found a suitable mooring for Liberace’s yacht — presumably with half of Berkshire as an audience. It wasn’t until we hit deepest, darkest Wales that the Fiesta really started to shine, though. Okay, so it might not have anywhere near the power of half the cars here, but frankly it’s all the better for it. Chasing Batch’s Rangie down a narrow, stonewalled track, it became clear just how hard he was having to work — frantically braking, making hundreds of minute adjustments at the steering wheel and barely getting near the throttle at all. I, meanwhile, could go very nearly flat out – the Fiesta’s sticky front tyres eating up the curves, its raunchy engine note filling the cabin like petrolhead incense. Changing down for a slow corner, it occurred to me that I was in one of only two manual cars here too — and very pleased I was for it. The Fiesta’s ’box is one of the sweetest I’ve used — positive to the touch and with a nice short throw. It’s not the only gem in the Fiesta’s cabin either: the steering is direct and quick, connecting you straight to the ever-so-keen chassis, all the while a set of really rather good Recaro seats holding you securely. The engine too is nothing short of brilliant. Fond as I am of hot hatches, you need to rev to death to wring the power out of — the old RenaultSport Clio springs to mind — while the turbocharged Fiesta’s point-and-squirt power is fun in a whole different way, and one that’s arguably more useable day to day. That’s the thing with the ST — I reckon it’s easily the car here that you’d have the most fun with on most days. The F-Type and Cayman are impractical, the M6 and RS6 will see your driving licence torn up, and the Bentley and Range Rover feel like piloting planets. The ST, meanwhile, will even take you to Tesco on a rainy Tuesday with a grin — and I know which I’d rather have. Jon Reay (@JonReay)

the knowledge: ford fiesta st-2 Price: Engine: Power: Max speed: 0-60mph: MPG (comb’d): Emissions:

£18,995 (as tested) 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol 178bhp, 290Nm 137mph 6.9s 47.9 138g/km

I could go very nearly flat out — its raunchy engine note filling the cabin like petrolhead incense | 69

FEATURE. Road Test of the Year 2013 AUDI RS6 AVANT Switching to a pen from a video camera can sometimes have its downsides — the biggest being whenever a sporty little number rocks up, when I’m normally relegated to a toothless estate or lumbering MPV to ‘carry the kit’. So, when the RS6 arrived, it was refreshing to get behind the wheel of something with a decent boot and some serious oomph. And when I say oomph, I mean this £90k estate is a supercar slayer. From a standing start it will hit 60mph in under four seconds and keep going to a limited top speed of 155mph — 189mph with the limiters off. If the winner was picked on brute force alone, then the Audi would walk it. But it isn’t.

the knowledge: audi rs6 avant Price: Engine: Power: Max speed: 0-60mph: MPG (comb’d): Emissions:

£91,450 (as tested) 4.0-litre, V8 twin-turbocharged petrol 550bhp, 699Nm 155mph (limited) 3.7s 28.8 229g/km

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The roads around the Brecon Beacons are almost as famed for weeding out handling imperfections on performance cars as they are for suicidal sheep. And after Day One, the general consensus was that the RS6 was better suited to autobahnbashing than agile handling. That’s not to say the RS6 can’t cope with twisty roads. Far from it. Audi’s famous quattro four-wheel drive gives bags of grip, while sharp, well-weighted steering matched with an eightspeed tiptronic paddle shift gearbox means you can place the car perfectly and power through the bend, but you find there’s a lot of gearchanging, especially on the roads around the Beacons. Ultimately, the RS6 feels a little overweight for

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this kind of driving. Where some of the other cars such as the Ford Fiesta ST and Porsche Cayman S danced through the corners, the Audi seemed to batter its way round, relying on the 550hp from its 4.0-litre V8 to pull it through the bends. There’s no doubt that there are few cars with such an extreme Jekyll and Hyde personality. One minute it’s a comfortable family estate, safe and sensible. However, switch everything into sport mode and it becomes a completely different animal. The throttle response is quicker, the steering is sharper and the ride considerably firmer. There’s no other word to describe the acceleration — it’s brutal. The old RS6, powered by the same engine in the Lamborghini Gallardo, was brutal, but with

the new one, it feels put together in a much neater, more controllable package. At times it’s hard to remember you’re actually driving an estate car. I’ve got to say, I’m not massively enamoured by its styling. Yes, the slightly beefed-up wheel arches and 21-inch alloy wheels give it a more muscular stance and it sits lower than the standard A6 to give better handling but, to the untrained eye, there isn’t much to tell it apart from the standard model. As an all-rounder, the RS6 ticks most of the boxes. It’s extremely practical thanks to its big boot, it’s not crippling to run thanks to every fuelsaving technology in the VW group arsenal, and as for performance, nothing here could touch it. Nigel Swan (@motoringnut)

At times it’s hard to remember you’re actually driving an estate car | 71

FEATURE. Road Test of the Year 2013 BMW M6 gran coupe Following Jon in the diminutive Fiesta as it bobs and weaves across the narrow arteries of the Beacons, the M6 initially feels at a disadvantage — its sheer size denies you the road space to exploit its massive performance. There’s a palpable intake of breath every time wider traffic passes and those gorgeous wheels come closer to the traction-free grass and neverending drops beyond. On the straights it is easy meat, but come to a corner (and there are many in this part of Wales) and the Fiesta simply jinks through, where the BMW needs more considered guidance. The traction control is saving my blushes on

the knowledge: BMW M6 gran coupe Price: Engine: Power: Max speed: 0-60mph: MPG (comb’d): Emissions:

£119,575 (as tested) 4.4-litre V8, twin-turbocharged petrol 560bhp, 678Nm 155mph (limited) 4.0s 28.5 232g/km

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occasion — turn it off and the M6 will slide for England, but it’ll take a braver (or stupider) man than me to get that big backside out of line here. Give it some room, though, and the M6 really shines. I’d feared that ditching the screaming V10 of old for a more eco-worthy twin-turbo V8 would have neutered the driving experience, but not a chance. The motor pulls hard from low down with a torque-laden surge completely missing from the old car, and continues up to a screaming top end, at which point you’ll be travelling at speeds that’ll see you doing porridge quicker than you can say ‘Sorry officer’. The noise, too, is intoxicating. From inside it can sound a little contrived, with some

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obvious tuning going on. But while it doesn’t have the attention-grabbing low-speed rumble of the Range Rover or Audi, get it right up there and it emits a hard-edged V8 hammer that reeks of expensive engineering and motorsport heritage, all accompanied by a rifle-crack from the exhausts on upshifts. It’s no secret the Bimmer is among my favourites from this year’s selection, and at lunch (petrol station sandwiches in a windswept car park — nice) I’m getting some stick over my new crush. ‘It’s too expensive,’ says Leon, conveniently forgetting that the Bentley he’s just climbed out of costs more than the BMW and Porsche combined. ‘Why wouldn’t you just get an M5?’

It’s true that, next to its similarly powerful saloon sibling, the Gran Coupe can look like BMW is taking the mickey, charging £24,195 extra for a four-door coupe bodystyle. And that’s before you plunder the options list – as BMW had done with the car we had on test. I disagree. In terms of material quality and design, the BMW’s interior is in the same league as the Bentley and compared to similarly fast four-door coupes such as the Aston Martin Rapide, it’s a positive bargain. Couple that to the supercarslaying performance, GT comfort and discreetly aggressive looks, the M6 is perhaps the most wellrounded car of the lot. And don’t let Nigel’s talk of the RS6’s family-friendly estate body persuade you of anything else.

you’ll be travelling at speeds that’ll see you doing porridge quicker than you can say ‘sorry officer’

Daljinder Nagra (@Djonmotors) | 73

FEATURE. Road Test of the Year 2013 JAGUAR F-TYPE

the knowledge: jaguar f-type V6S Price: Engine: Power: Max speed: 0-60mph: MPG (comb’d): Emissions:

£79,230 (as tested) 3.0-litre V6, supercharged petrol 357bhp, 460Nm 171mph 4.8s 31.0 213g/km

YOU expect to sample exciting roads like those you see in these pictures when you visit them for a feature, but the best drives are always the unexpected ones. I slipped into the F-Type at the A34’s Chieveley Services before enduring the 80-or-so miles on the M4 to the southerly depths of Wales, and Jaguar’s new sports car was refined but nothing more so. The stereo was good; the seats comfortable; the readout between the speedometer and revcounter slightly cheap-looking. But once we turned off the M4, with me bringing up the rear of our little convoy and heading towards our overnight stay in deepest south Wales, this was the point at which the F-Type captured my heart. And boy did I want it to. Jaguars have always had an unusual grasp on me. I could spout the names of Jaguar’s ’60s models well before I could recite the 12-times table. MK2, 420G, S-Type and MK10 to me were the cars for real men. And so it’s no surprise the E-Type is my answer to the best car ever. Oh, it had its foibles, but there’s no other car as pleasing in my eyes. When James came back from the F-Type launch in humid Spain a few months ago, saying the new two-seater was the perfect successor to those glorious E-, D- and C-Types from Jaguar’s past, I so wanted to believe him but found I just couldn’t be so naive. But my goodness, the F-Type is startlingly fabulous. Push the adaptive dynamics slider on the centre console backwards until a chequered flag symbol appears on the readout between the speedo and rev counter, hit the sports exhaust button and flick to manual mode on the automatic gearbox, and the F turns into a D-Type for 2013. On the road through villages with names like ‘Craddock’ and on to our rented cottage, we took in lanes featuring trees growing in the middle of the road and farmers in Land Rovers going about their business. The supercharged 3.0-litre V6 emits an earpiercing noise. A howl followed by a staccato bark on upshifts — it sounded like a D-Type with a trumpet up its backside. Through another village and back on to a narrow lane traversing green peaks revealed the F-Type’s slight imperfections — steering that could be crisper, brakes that could be less woolly. Dynamically, it’s a gem but it’s the styling — so retro but simultaneously forward-looking — that is this Jaguar’s crowning glory. James Batchelor (@JRRBatchelor)

A howl followed by a staccato bark — it sounded like a D-Type with a trumpet up its bACKSIDE 74 |

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FEATURE. Road Test of the Year 2013 RANGE ROVER SPORT

the knowledge: RANGE ROVER SPORT AUTOBIOGRAPHY Price: Engine: Power: Max speed: 0-60mph: MPG (comb’d): Emissions:

£91,000 (as tested) 5.0-litre, V8 supercharged petrol 510bhp, 625Nm 155mph (limited) 5.0s 22.1 298g/km

I wasn’t too worried about the Vauxhall Astra van that had boorishly pulled out in front of me moments before. And neither was the driver, for he knew that the road leading up to the peaks of the Brecon Beacons was only really suitable for single-file traffic — the road’s characteristic turns, cambers and rises making overtaking an ugly affair. That would be the case for a normal car, but Range Rover’s new Sport is far from being so depressingly ordinary. It’s the product of a frighteningly confident company that is finally building cars with few compromises. It’s also the first Range Rover Sport to actually earn the prerogative of using its master’s famous name. It’s a common tale that the old, firstgeneration Sport was a symbol of pre-recession days — all image and money but lacking in any real substance. Its Land Rover Discovery 3 underpinnings had so little to do with a Range Rover it was almost offensive. But there’s no doubt it worked, for the Solihull factory churned out sizeable numbers of them to image-conscious buyers across the world. That’s all changed now — and for the better. The chassis is the same used on the Range Rover, and despite the new Sport being longer and wider than the model before it, it’s an incredible 433kg lighter. This, with the prodigious 510bhp 5.0-litre V8 supercharged engine under the bonnet, makes the Range Rover Sport perform in ways it shouldn’t in environments such as these. It’s remarkably agile and boasts comfort levels to rival anything costing twice as much. But such fine words weren’t going to help me get past Astra man. The walkie talkie — a staple piece of equipment on any Car Dealer feature — rudely interrupted my thought process and James’s voice crackled: ‘Are you gonna get past him or what?’ And with that he blasted past in the F-Type like a First World War fighter pilot — teeth gritted and hunched down in his leather seat. My hand moved to the centre console, home to the adjustable driving dynamics knob. Push it down and it rises, allowing you to select various driving modes — all I was interested in was ‘Dynamic’. Press this and the car changes its spots. It gets tighter, harder and far more focused. A check of the mirror and within milliseconds I was ruthlessly launched past the Astra. Another quick look in the mirror revealed Nigel promptly doing the same in the Cayman S, but by this time the Vauxhall was all too familiar with the attitude of this convoy to the Brecons: fast. James Batchelor (@JRRBatchelor)

Press ‘DYNAMIC’ and the car changes its spots. It gets tighter, harder and far more focused. 76 |

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FEATURE. Road Test of the Year 2013 PORSCHE CAYMAN S

You can feel every bend, every bump, every overtake, through every pore of your body 78 |

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It wasn’t until Day Two that I got a proper chance to get behind the wheel of the bright yellow Porsche. I’d snaffled the keys to the JLR pairing for the trip to Wales, enjoying the F-Type’s charms and Range Rover’s comfort for the slog to our favourite driving roads, saving the Cayman S for a decent blast on testing Tarmac. Bagging the keys at breakfast, I settled in as the six-cylinder cracked into life, warming its fluids for the drive to our cover shoot location in Crickhowell. The cabin is sparse in comparison to the Jaguar. The steering wheel plain and flat, devoid of speaker controls or hands-free buttons, the wheel reserved for one purpose and one purpose alone. It’s hard to get comfy in the optional (£2,226) sports seats as the back doesn’t recline, and for an over-armed ape like me it’s a contortionist’s act to squeeze in. Pedals are perfectly set, though, and with the rapid-fire direct gearbox making light work of shift duty, you can concentrate on fastforward momentum. And boy, does this thing like to travel towards the future at sheep-decapitating speeds. You may remember Porsche walked away with the honours at last year’s RTOTY with its 911 Carrera 2 PDK taking the top spot, and then I couldn’t imagine a better Porsche. But this Cayman is close — very close indeed. The 911 and Cayman are different beasts, in looks and prestige, but I’d find it hard to choose between the two if they were both sitting in the drive. The Cayman makes a wonderful rasp as it accelerates up the rev range and you can feel every bend, every bump, every overtake through every pore of your body. It puts your senses on high alert, raising your blood pressure like few other cars can. Grip through bends is staggeringly impressive — your internal organs move further than the Cayman steps out of line. But there’s still fun to be had. Provoke it, poke it and the S loses grip, but it’s never anything more than utterly controllable and completely intoxicating to boot. The Cayman S is quick, too. The 60mph sprint time of five seconds feels short-changed; it appears far faster behind the wheel. The gearbox is an absolute gem to use — when the firm’s PDK auto box is so good it’s easy for buyers to overlook the manual, but it is without doubt one of the very best in the business. Top speed is 175mph and that’s well believable — this Porsche clicks up three figures on its digital display in seconds. The motoring myth points towards Porsche dumbing down the Cayman so as not to steal sales from the 911 — but no-one at the company would ever admit to that. And after a long stint behind the wheel of the stunningly beautiful Cayman S, a car so accomplished, so polished, so close to perfection, you realise that even the mighty Germans would struggle to keep this corker a secret. James Baggott (@CarDealerEd)

the knowledge: PORSCHE CAYMAN S Price: Engine: Power: Max speed: 0-60mph: MPG (comb’d): Emissions:

£64,374 (as tested) 3.4-litre, six-cylinder petrol 325bhp, 370Nm 143mph 5.0s 32.1 206g/km | 79

FEATURE. Road Test of the Year 2013


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FEATURE. Road Test of the Year 2013 VERDICT


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2. Porsche Cayman S











3. Jaguar F-Type











4. Audi RS6 Avant











5. Range Rover Sport











6. BMW M6 Gran Coupe











7. Bentley Continental GTC Speed











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1. Ford Fiesta ST

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see how far the Fiesta pulled ahead in this year’s test. In second place is the Cayman S. I find it hard to fault — it looks brilliant, in fact I think it’s one of the best-looking Porsches ever, it’s intoxicating to drive and is so much fun you’ll not want to prise yourself out of the body-shapechanging seats. The F-Type secured a worthy third place. As Batch pointed out, this car had a huge amount riding on its shoulders and we’re so pleased it delivers. It’s a brilliant car to drive, feels and looks special and we’re delighted it’s designed and built in Britain. In fourth is the Audi RS6. With dominating looks and a mind-warping

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crunching from the team. Each tester scored each car in the categories below out of 10, apart from the fun and desirability areas, which we felt were more important and were scored out of 15. The results below are the totals of each of our testers’ scores — and you can read on the right which cars made each tester’s top three. But with our collective scores tallied up, the Fiesta takes first place by 10 points over the second-placed Porsche. And when you consider that 31 points encompasses the first five places, the fact a clear 10 separates the first two, with seven more deciding third place, means you can

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As giant-SLAYING goes, this is one of the greatest by far. Ford’s tiny Fiesta ST has pulled off one almighty coup, beating cars costing 10 times as much in this year’s Road Test of the Year to first place. But does it really come as a surprise? The Fiesta ST is a masterpiece in packaging. For less than £20,000 buyers can enjoy thrills on a par with the brilliant Jaguar or near-perfect Porsche — and all from a pint-sized 1.6-litre powerplant. This year’s RTOTY was without doubt the hardest to call and as I alluded to at the start it called for some scientific number

engine it combines breath-taking pace with comfort and practicality that will make dads go weak at the knees. In fact, it was surprisingly one of the cars that got the most attention whenever the RTOTY convoy pulled up for fuel. Fifth spot goes to the accomplished Range Rover Sport. Okay, so it might be a little out of place here alongside some real sports cars, but the fact it finished in fifth place is impressive enough. It’s a great car and one I spent a good deal of time with — it’s comfy, luxurious and would certainly have a place in my dream garage. Sixth goes to the BMW. Let down in the valuefor-money stakes — most of the writers would have an M5 instead — but there’s still no doubt it’s a special package and fun to drive. And in seventh is the purple Bentley — we won’t say last, as all the cars here have achieved something just to get an invite. On Welsh roads it was a little out of place, but there are few cars I’d pick over it for the long motorway blast back home. So there you have it — a scientific look at our favourite cars that arrived in your showrooms in the past 12 months. They’re a fabulous collection and show how exciting the cars are that this industry is producing right now. We can’t wait to find out what the next year has in store… [CD] James Baggott (@CarDealerEd)

writers’ verdicts

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Leon Poultney

Jon Reay

Leon’s verdict: The Porsche Cayman S storms it for me because it’s not just a lesson but a lecture in chassis design. It encourages speed, grips like No More Nails and the latest generation looks the business. In close second was the Fiesta ST purely because it induces spontaneous whoops with its handling prowess and costs a fraction of the other cars on offer. Finally, the Range Rover Sport impressed me with its lavish interior, superior offroad capabilities and its capacity to transform into a fiery road racer at the touch of a button. Jon’s verdict: It might be the cheapest option here, but the Fiesta ST is my overall winner. Other cars might outperform it in a straight line and the Porsche is likely to thrash it on corners too, but it’s such great fun that you won’t ever care. Second for me is the F-Type. With its superb soundtrack, gorgeous styling and ultimate desirability, it really is a car Jag dealers can be proud to showcase. Last is the Range Rover Sport — arguably the only car you’d ever need. It’s terrific, luxuriously comfortable and feels like a leather-clad rocket ship. DJ’s verdict: Despite my love of the M6, it has

Daljinder Nagra

Nigel Swan

to be denied top honours, losing out to an unlikely rival, the Fiesta ST. It’s one of the most fun cars to drive at any price point right now and certainly holds its head high in this company. Second goes to the M6. It’s a perfect blend of liveability and ferocity. In third place is the RS6. Driving a discreet estate car that can lay waste to near enough anything else on the road never gets boring, and it’s a far more wieldy proposition on the road than its sheer size would suggest.

Nige’s verdict: For me the car that left the biggest impression was the Porsche Cayman S. It doesn’t need more power, it’s got more than enough oomph for the everyday motorist and its handling gives the driver bags of confidence on twisty roads. Second goes to both Range Rover Sport and the F-Type. The Sport really is the perfect blend of everything and showed its true colours in Wales. And the F-Type lives up to the hype dished out – it really is as good as you’ve read about elsewhere. Jaguar Land Rover is riding high. Batch’s verdict: The car that clinches it for

James Batchelor

me is the F-Type. While it may not be the best to drive (that’s the Cayman S) and nor is it the best value for money (that’s the Fiesta’s triumph), there was so much riding on the car — it promised a lot and it delivered. The Cayman shows up the Jaguar’s slight foibles and represents probably the best userfriendly sports car currently on sale; it sits in second. And third goes to the Fiesta — a future Fast Ford classic — it’s a remarkable little thing. I’m almost tempted to buy one.

Watch the cars in action on our Road Test of the Year video by scanning the QR code or visit | 83

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The IMI Professional Register

Make training pay The IMI Professional Register



ith strong vehicle registration figures in September highlighting tentative signs of an economic recovery, motor retailers will no doubt be hoping to capitalise on any ‘green shoots’ and traction in the new and used car market. However, the best retailers will also be aware that you cannot rely on external factors alone if you wish to grow your business in what is undoubtedly one of today’s most exciting and demanding industries. Vehicle technology continues to advance at a rapid pace and the process customers undertake when shopping for a car is evolving daily — as is their understanding of the product they are buying. Here at the IMI, we have no doubt that those who continue to invest in training and skills will be best placed to capitalise on new economic opportunities. With this in mind, we believe that our Professional Register can play a key role in supporting and promoting those who are at the top of their game.

Challenging perceptions Sadly, many hold misconceptions about our sector: namely that the terms ‘motor trade’ and ‘professionalism’ do not typically go together. Put simply, the bad actions of a few ‘cowboys’ are tarnishing the reputation of the vast majority of retailers that take professionalism seriously. This is not helped by the fact that we operate in a largely unregulated sector where the public are, in the main, unaware that, effectively, anyone can set themselves up to sell cars. Part-funded by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, the IMI Professional Register aims to address this directly by placing the spotlight on skills and competence in our sector for the first time. It allows the best motor retailers to leverage their investment in skills and qualifications through a public-facing online database of verified individuals at The Register enables consumers quickly and easily to differentiate professional and competent operators and their employers from the rest. As a result, highcalibre salespeople can demonstrate to potential customers that they are the right people with whom to do business and build trust from an early stage of the buying process. 86 |

A major consumer marketing campaign will shortly be launched by the IMI to promote awareness of the Professional Register to the public, as part of a three-year ongoing commitment. The celebrity-fronted campaign aims to put skills and competency at the heart of consumer choice in the automotive retail sector and challenge existing poor perceptions by promoting individuals and businesses that invest in training. The IMI’s aim will be to have customers researching the competence of staff before they engage with a business, as well as asking to deal with professionally-registered individuals when entering a showroom or forecourt.

Routes to registration There are currently three routes on to the IMI Professional Register — IMI membership, Automotive Management Accreditation (AMA) and Automotive Technician Accreditation (ATA). IMI membership has its own benefits for salespeople, including access to discounted automotive-specific training and valuable networking opportunities. A member’s grade, based on qualifications and experience, is also displayed on the Professional Register. Meanwhile, AMA offers those in management positions the opportunity to benchmark their skills against an industry standard, gain a management qualification and understand opportunities for further personal development.

The IMI’s Professional Register currently contains almost 40,000 individuals and aims to increase this to 100,000 by the end of 2016. Further marketing opportunities are also available to businesses that invest in their staff’s training needs, through the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). The ERS is available to businesses that can demonstrate that at least half of their employees are professionally registered. This unique scheme is therefore the only programme of its type that is based primarily on an organisation’s competency and skill levels and allows retailers that invest in training and up-skilling to gain commercial advantage for the first time.

Investing in training It is fair to say that investment in training for sales personnel has never been more important than in today’s changing landscape. Individuals working in new car showrooms in particular are faced with increasingly complex product ranges, which they need to understand in detail if they wish to take advantage of valuable upselling opportunities. Meanwhile, the consumer process has evolved exponentially over the past decade, with online research now the norm and peer recommendations through social media a major factor in purchasing a new vehicle.

About the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI): The IMI is the professional body for individuals working in the motor industry. Its vision is to ensure that the automotive retail sector has a skilled, competent and professional workforce that is fully equipped to keep pace with the demands of new technology and changing markets while remaining competitive in the global market. The IMI is also the industry’s government-licensed Sector Skills Council, the ruling body of the Automotive Technician Accreditation and Automotive Management Accreditation schemes, as well as the authoritative source for retail motor industry careers information, standards and qualifications. To find out more, visit

Second-hand car salespeople are not immune to these changes either, with complex technologies now filtering on to their forecourts, particularly through the prestige brands, and customers beginning their search for a second-hand vehicle almost exclusively online. All of this means that the skills of salespeople need to be constantly honed to keep them current with the demands and expectations of customers. As well as helping individuals and businesses to profit from the vital investments they need to

make to meet these challenges, the IMI has also developed an extensive Continuing Professional Development (CPD) partnership programme in order to help close widening skills gaps. The CPD partnership programme includes automotive-specific training covering every area of the retail motor industry, so you can top up on your technical knowledge alongside finding the latest sales training and business development advice. Courses are available both face to face and through e-learning, allowing you to tailor your

learning based on time pressures, as well as being discounted to those on the Professional Register. n You can view full CPD listings, as well as finding out more about other services mentioned in this article, at

Who is Steve Nash?

Steve is the CEO of the IMI and former aftermarket director of BMW UK. Find out more about the IMI at | 87

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A win-win situation HPI


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y ensuring that you know exactly what you’re buying, you can generate more leads, sell your cars faster and get new stock in quicker. That’s the way to make money, believes HPI. ‘If you can increase your stockturn and sell more cars from the same-sized pitch, you will increase your revenue,’ explains commercial operations director Phil Peace. As it becomes increasingly difficult to find quality used car stock at the right price, it’s crucial for dealers to make sure they’re making informed buying decisions and advertising vehicles correctly. But how can you ensure you’re buying the right car and producing the right adverts? For more than 75 years, HPI has been best known for its comprehensive provenance check. Now, the company has introduced a whole portfolio of new products designed to help make dealers’ lives easier. In the past few months, HPI has launched two new services, Spec Check and Market Values, which help dealers analyse a vehicle before they decide whether or not it’s the right car for them. By consolidating data from vehicle manufacturers, advertisers, auctions and other sources, HPI can provide dealers with accurate vehicle information to help them make better decisions. ‘Our primary purpose is to support the motor industry,’

says Peace. ‘Our new products, Spec Check and Market Values, are aimed predominantly at automotive dealers and auctions to help them run a more efficient business and, ultimately, help them make more money.’ While Market Values will ensure dealers are purchasing the right cars at the right time, dealers could potentially be losing money or missing out on sales altogether. That’s where Spec Check comes in. ‘If you don’t advertise your cars correctly, you’re not going to generate the leads from them. By using HPI Spec Check you can identify the optional extras that a car has and make sure that they’re mentioned correctly in the advert,’ says Peace. As the introduction of more and more model derivatives continues, it’s very difficult to understand the specification of every vehicle that’s on sale. ‘If the book says a car is worth £30,000, how does a dealer know it’s actually worth £30,000 and that it hasn’t got £5,000-worth of extras on it?’, says Peace. ‘Dealers can easily make mistakes on a car they’re not familiar with. Is heated leather standard or optional? Does it have adaptive cruise control fitted? Does it have factory-fitted Bluetooth or are the buttons just dummies? A car with factory Bluetooth will sell from £100 to £200 more than one without, and that can be the difference between clearing a profit or making a loss if you get it wrong.’

A major issue dealers are faced with at the moment is trying to get hold of good-quality used stock. Private buyers are holding on to their cars for longer and the reduction in new sales means there are fewer cars in the market and dealers have to fight over them. ‘In many cases, this means dealers end up paying over the odds or even buying cars that they’re not quite so keen on to keep the forecourt full,’ says Peace. ‘As a result, it’s more important than ever before for dealers to know exactly what they’re buying. Margins are tighter than they have been in the past and dealers can have to pay way above book to buy the right stock in.’ Both Market Values and Spec Check are available through the HPI website, helping dealers to work out whether they want to stock a car and how much they’re prepared to pay for it. ‘The two products are also designed to work on mobile devices and dealers can use this facility at auction houses or on the move — giving them the advantage over other traders,’ explains Peace. Whether you’re a franchised dealer or an independent one-man band, HPI’s latest tools can help you to buy the right stock and sell it faster at a better price — a win-win situation. [CD] By Sophie Williamson-Stothert (@1Sophie_W) | 89

focus on.


Make your workshop work better with the right tools wurth


W: T: 03300 555 444

efore dealer workshops can even begin to think about providing customers with the best levels of service, they need the right tools. But they can’t be any old tools. With developments in vehicle technology and customer requirements for increased safety, dealer workshops need to have a plethora of diagnostic equipment. This is where Wurth comes in. With its WoW! range, Wurth has the ideal products for dealers’ diagnostic needs ‘WoW! Diagnostics offers a good balance between means of diagnosis, technical data and repair manuals,’ says Wurth’s automotive divisional manager,

90 |

Graeme Fullerton. ‘This way, dealers are ideally equipped for any challenge in the workshop.’ With more than 10 years of experience in the development and production of diagnostic solutions, Wurth already works with more than 50,000 workshops in Europe. What makes WoW! Diagnostics so different to similar devices in the market is the fact that it is compatible with all vehicles, making dealers’ lives much easier when it comes to analysing and fixing faults on a number of brands. ‘WoW! offers a lot of flexibility to our clients and can diagnose faults on any new or used vehicle that goes into a workshop,’ says Fullerton. ‘Intelligent vehicle diagnosis aids like WoW! are indispensable in today’s workshop routine.’ The diagnostic system combines comprehensive functionalities, a self-explanatory operating concept and the most recent data to provide fault solutions, and is the market leader in its sector. ‘Wurth founded WoW! Diagnostics with the firm conviction that in the future an increasing number of vehicle repairs and services will be done with a suitable diagnostic solution,’ explains Fullerton. The privately-run business currently has a presence in more than 400 companies in 80 countries across the world and it employees 65,000 staff members. What makes this more important for dealers is the fact that roughly half of them are direct sales people. ‘Around 30,000 of the staff we employ are direct sales representatives,’ says Fullerton. ‘The important thing for dealers to remember is that there is always going to be a sales consultant close to you, wherever you’re based.’ Wurth works closely with a wide variety of clients, from franchised dealers to manufacturers,

meaning the company has a total of roughly 2,700 active customers in the UK. ‘We work with a number of individual clients, whether they are large franchised dealers, small independent garages or workshops, and that adds value to the WoW! product,’ explains Fullerton. ‘Similarly, we also work directly with manufacturers, such as Honda and Toyota.’ Wurth recently formed a partnership with the RAC, which will see the company’s workshops and recovery vehicles equipped with Wurth’s WoW!

Diagnostics systems. ‘Our recent partnership with RAC means that all RAC workshop facilities will be equipped with WoW! Diagnostics,’ says Fullerton. ‘The RAC brand name also adds credibility to our product.’ Working hand-in-hand with WoW! Diagnostics is Wurth’s Snooper+ system. The Snooper+ is the reliable partner for the vehicle diagnosis, and working together with the WoW! software the interface for the multi-brand diagnosis supports vehicle diagnosis for new, but also for older vehicles.

The Snooper+ has many in-depth functions, which makes it the perfect diagnostic partner for the workshop. This includes Ultimate Flight Recorder for mobile data recording, where all realtime parameters supported by the engine control units can be logged, and optical and acoustic feedback of the running process ensures a secure and ideal diagnosis operation. Snooper+ is also designed for heavy-duty use in the workshop, thanks to a flexible rubber cover that protects the USB connection, the Micro-SD memory

card and the card reader, while its 16-pin connector with integrated LED makes locating the diagnostic connector in the vehicle easy, and connecting older adapters, dependent on the vehicle, to the 16-pin connector is also possible. As vehicles continue to evolve and become technologically advanced, it’s essential for dealer workshops to be equipped with the right tools and solutions to carry out full vehicle services. According to Wurth, today’s vehicles have, on average, around 20 different electronic control systems, and every model is fitted with new sophisticated electronics to control mechanical parts, replacing the simplest of switches. Ultimately, there are some problems that cannot be fixed using an everyday tool kit, and if dealers don’t have the equipment to diagnose or repair these issues, they’re bound to lose their customers’ confidence. Tailored to dealers’ individual requirements, WoW! Diagnostics saves both time and money when it comes to servicing and fixing stock or customer cars. The question you have to ask is, why send your cars away to have a problem diagnosed when you can make a profit doing it yourself? [CD] By Sophie Williamson-Stothert (@1Sophie_W) | 91

WOW! - RAC’S FUTURE DIAGNOSTIC PARTNER OF CHOICE Interview with Trevor Henry, RAC’s Strategic Development Project Manager First of all it would be interesting to understand RAC’s mission in the Roadside Assistance Business. What can your members expect from RAC? Trevor Henry: Our aim is to resolve as many of our customers breakdowns at the roadside and where this is not practical provide an alternative solution. The RAC’s promise to our 7.7 million members is: ´:HGRDOOZHFDQWRÀ[\RXUYHKLFOHDQGJHW\RXRQ your way, not just tow you to a garage�.2XUSDWUROVÀ[ 4 out of 5 vehicles at the roadside on average within 36 minutes.

“THE FUTURE RAC CHALLENGES ARE THE REASON THE WOW! GROUP IS OUR DIAGNOSTIC PARTNER OF CHOICE!â€? That means in order to keep this promise and even improve the solution level at the roadside have been the RAC motivation factors to start this tender process with a certain number of potential diagnostic partners? :KDWKDYHEHHQ\RXUVSHFLĂ€FDWLRQVDQGH[SHFWDWLRQV" 7UHYRU+HQU\:HGHĂ€QHGWKHPDLQFULWHULDDFFRUGLQJWRRXUFRUH business needs: First: the new diagnostic solution must help us to deal with the increasing number of makes, models and electronic systems on the road and lead to an accurate high-speed diagnosis. Our goal was to reduce the average time per incident by about 3 minutes. 92 |

Secondly: the solution must practically assist to resolve the issue by UHSDLULQJFRQÀJXULQJRUH[FKDQJLQJPXOWLSOHFDUV\VWHPV Thirdly: we aimed for a reduction of the formerly excessive need for training for our 1,550 patrols who are the ones who SHUIRUPRQWKHURDG7KHUHIRUHZHH[SHFWHGDVROXWLRQ´HDV\WRXVH¾ IRUH̅FLHQWZRUNLQJ ...The human component in a primarily technical environment? Trevor Henry: Of course our patrols are car technology specialists who have to add a new competence: being a diagnostic professional to the required level. That’s why our diagnostic VROXWLRQQHHGHGWREH´UHGXFHGWRWKHPD[¾DQGZHKDYHWRKDYHD clear training concept. ... a training concept that practically looks like...? Trevor Henry: All of the RAC patrol force have been allocated a day where they will attend an introductory training event. We have regional trainers that will monitor patrols progress and carry out group or individual trainings. Training is targeted to meet business and individual needs. During the last 24months electronic bulletins and our quarterly audio CD call-sign I have been used to keep patrols informed of the recent diagnostic trial and selection process. What do you believe are the biggest challenges for the RAC currently and in the future? Trevor Henry: The biggest challenge at the roadside in the last 2 years has been the unpredictable weather conditions. This has an impact on our breakdown volumes and puts resources under strain. | 93


Thestatistics n

SMMT Sales Data


Taking Stock

Records smashed: Strongest month since March 2008 Super September proves a record month for dealers and manufacturers NEW car registrations were up 12.1 per cent in September, latest SMMT figures reveal. The month saw 403,136 units registered — the highest-performing month since March 2008. SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘The September new car registrations figure was the highest monthly total since March 2008. ‘With over 400,000 new cars registered for the first time in over five years, the UK market is reflecting growing economic confidence. ‘Robust private demand has played a major role in this growth, with customers attracted by exciting, increasingly fuel-efficient new models which offer savings on the cost of ownership.’ He added: ‘This is the 19th consecutive month of steady growth

and, with fleet and business demand still to reach pre-recession levels, we believe the performance to be sustainable. The latest 63-plate should deliver success into next year.’ Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, said: ‘The popularity of the 63-plate helped new car sales soar. ‘Attractive finance packages are offering consumers more clarity on running costs, which even with a more promising economic outlook is an important factor for those on a budget. ‘As we head into the quieter months, I suspect we’ll see sales hold firm, keeping the UK market zooming ahead of our European counterparts.’ Kia Motors UK’s president and chief executive, Paul Philpott, said: ‘Throughout 2013 our dealer network

has been building on the momentum established over the last few years and now both they and we are really seeing the results of all that hard work.’ He went on to say: ‘September has shown just what potential we have for continued growth in the marketplace and to deliver profitable growth for our dealers.’ September was a record month for Audi. The firm’s UK head of sales, Paul Sansom, said: ‘Audi UK has achieved an all-time record for its new car sales in September, with literally thousands more cars reaching our customers than at this time last year. The scale of demand for Audi in the UK has never been stronger or more consistent, and despite these record sales numbers our future customer order bank is also at an all-time high.’

Fiesta remains supreme in battle of best-sellers THE Ford Fiesta has extended its lead again in the sales charts after another successful September. According to SMMT, the top 10 best-seller list for September was dominated by Ford, Vauxhall and Volkswagen — recording very similar figures to year-to-date. The Fiesta was again on top, shifting an impressive 20,629 units, miles ahead of Vauxhall’s Corsa, which sold 14,464 units. The Ford Focus followed close 94 |

behind in third place with 14,295 units in September and the Volkswagen Golf came in fourth with 12,265 sales, while fifth was the

Vauxhall Astra, which notched up 11,014 sales. BMW took sixth and seventh place, with the BMW 1 Series recording 10,084 units in September, while the 3 Series achieved 8,309. The Peugeot 208 came eighth with 7,953 units, and rounding up the top 10, Nissan’s Qashqai took ninth with 7,771 units and Fiat’s 500 held on to the final spot with 7,422. Looking at year-to-date, the Fiesta leads with 94,047 units to its name.

SMMT sales data Sept/year to date



Most improved manufacturers in September

Mitsubishi +86.71% Subaru










Worst performing manufacturers in September Perodua -78.33% Proton






Aston Martin - 26.99%

mitsubishi +86.71%

perodua -78.33% Figures supplied by SMMT

September 2013 September 2012 February Marque

Abarth Alfa Romeo Aston Martin Audi Bentley BMW Chevrolet Chrysler Citroen Dacia Fiat Ford Honda Hyundai Infiniti Jaguar Jeep Kia Land Rover Lexus Lotus Maserati Mazda Mercedes-Benz MG Mini Mitsubishi Nissan Perodua Peugeot Porsche Proton Renault Saab Seat Skoda Smart SsangYong Subaru Suzuki Toyota Vauxhall Volkswagen Volvo Other British Other Imports Total


276 1,192 119 25,829 147 27,308 2,083 630 12,682 2,759 11,667 51,084 10,442 14,479 25 3,183 326 12,728 9,531 2,013 10 28 7,189 21,256 104 10,382 1,813 20,119 13 19,160 1,248 3 9,045 0 8,498 10,380 913 161 522 7,037 16,912 41,310 33,104 5,258 76 92 403,136

% market share

0.07 0.30 0.03 6.41 0.04 6.77 0.52 0.16 3.15 0.68 2.89 12.67 2.59 3.59 0.01 0.79 0.08 3.16 2.36 0.50 0.00 0.01 1.78 5.27 0.03 2.58 0.45 4.99 0.00 4.75 0.31 0.00 2.24 0.00 2.11 2.57 0.23 0.04 0.13 1.75

4.20 10.25 8.21 1.30 0.02 0.02


Year to date (YTD)

% market share

2013 % Change

248 1,227 163 22,283 168 22,427 1,682 795 12,851 0 9,028 47,370 11,602 13,480 32 2,962 313 11,608 8,745 1,541 17 41 4,952 16,618 72 9,419 971 19,399 60 18,100 1,123 12 7,161 8 7,739 7,480 885 164 349 5,850 15,867 38,889 31,424 4,325 95 67 359,612

0.07 0.34 0.05 6.20 0.05 6.24 0.47 0.22 3.57 0.00 2.51 13.17 3.23 3.75 0.01 0.82 0.09 3.23 2.43 0.43 0.00 0.01 1.38 4.62 0.02 2.62 0.27 5.39 0.02 5.03 0.31 0.00 1.99 0.00 2.15 2.08 0.25 0.05 0.10 1.63

4.41 10.81 8.74 1.20 0.03 0.02

11.29 -2.85 -26.99 15.91 -12.50 21.76 23.84 -20.75 -1.32 0.00 29.23 7.84 -10.00 7.41 -21.88 7.46 4.15 9.65 8.99 30.63 -41.18 -31.71 45.17 27.91 44.44 10.22 86.71 3.71 -78.33 5.86 11.13 -75.00 26.31 -100.00 9.81 38.77 3.16 -1.83 49.57 20.29 6.59 6.23 5.35 21.57 -20.00 37.31 12.10

1,114 4,496 725 114,261 941 105,313 9,982 2,237 63,773 11,631 47,587 249,017 45,494 61,210 305 13,256 1,458 58,307 43,916 7,050 141 239 26,027 86,624 273 40,264 7,416 94,541 193 86,019 6,021 18 32,320 3 35,468 49,576 4,316 505 1,757 27,187 72,831 200,357 154,536 24,851 644 724 1,794,924

%market share

0.06 0.25 0.04 6.37 0.05 5.87 0.56 0.12 3.55 0.65 2.65 13.87 2.53 3.41 0.02 0.74 0.08 3.25 2.45 0.39 0.01 0.01 1.45 4.83 0.02 2.24 0.41 5.27 0.01 4.79 0.34 0.00 1.80 0.00 1.98 2.76 0.24 0.03 0.10 1.51

4.06 11.16 8.61 1.38 0.04 0.04


%market share % Change

939 6,115 738 101,390 977 97,692 11,692 2,932 58,398 0 39,780 224,369 44,144 56,119 374 11,139 1,672 52,899 38,847 7,067 120 240 22,713 73,401 631 38,136 4,957 84,519 343 81,145 5,958 197 30,369 215 30,443 41,522 4,039 688 1,745 20,964 68,889 179,698 146,720 24,250 757 667 1,620,609

0.06 0.38 0.05 6.26 0.06 6.03 0.72 0.18 3.60 0.00 2.45 13.84 2.72 3.46 0.02 0.69 0.10 3.26 2.40 0.44 0.01 0.01 1.40 4.53 0.04 2.35 0.31 5.22 0.02 5.01 0.37 0.01 1.87 0.01 1.88 2.56 0.25 0.04 0.11 1.29

4.25 11.09 9.05 1.50 0.05 0.04

18.64 -26.48 -1.76 12.69 -3.68 7.80 -14.63 -23.70 9.20 0.00 19.63 10.99 3.06 9.07 -18.45 19.01 -12.80 10.22 13.05 -0.24 17.50 -0.42 14.59 18.01 -56.74 5.58 49.61 11.86 -43.73 6.01 1.06 -90.86 6.42 -98.60 16.51 19.40 6.86 -26.60 0.69 29.68 5.72 11.50 5.33 2.48 -14.93 8.55 10.76

SMMT HAS REMOVED DAIHATSU AS it registered no new vehicles in 2012. A new entry for 2013 is dacia | 95

TAKING STOCK. Once again, and BCA give their thoughts on what dealers should be paying attention to in the months ahead. Here’s what they have to say

Customers There’s a feelwant you to go good feeling the extra mile in the air believes Dermot Kelleher, Motors.’s head of business intelligence


ecent research by has shown that car buyers continue to expect dealers to go that extra mile to clinch the deal. In fact, the research, which was conducted during September 2013, showed that consumers not only expect to negotiate a sizeable discount off the asking price of their next car, but they also want more to be included in the deal. Indeed, more than half of those consumers contacted by Motors. said they would expect to negotiate at least £500 off the asking price of a car for sale between £5,000 and £10,000 and a minimum of £1,000 on sales in excess of £20,000. In actual fact, the research showed that, no matter what the price, the customer would always expect to get some form of discount in today’s competitive car market. In addition to this, the research also demonstrated

96 |

that consumers’ expectations do not stop at just price. Added benefits, such as 12 months’ tax, a year’s warranty, long MOTs and a tank of fuel, are also high on the list of consumer requirements, with more than a third of drivers expecting a 12month warranty plus a minimum of 10 months’ MOT and 12 months’ tax. It is clear that savvy consumers are now expecting more from their deals. With this in mind, motor retailers now need to be even shrewder, not only on the purchase price of their stock but also in what extras they can offer customers to sweeten the deal. Indeed, dealers need to be mindful of the growth of the more commercially astute car buyer and ensure they source stock with sufficient margin headroom to cater for this new retail culture.

says Simon Henstock, BCA’s UK network operations director


verage values continue on their upward march if you look at our latest figures from the BCA’s Pulse report. Our remarketing centres nationwide reported strong demand and a significant upturn in conversion rates during September. The used market remained relatively short of stock last month as much of the volume resulting from the September plate change does not impact until early October. September proved to be an exceptionally strong month at BCA, with a string of 100 per cent conversions, high average values and an overall volume sales performance that was well ahead year-on-year. Despite volumes beginning to rise towards the end of the month, demand outstripped supply comprehensively throughout September and both physical and online channels were very busy.

There has been a growing feel-good factor apparent in the wholesale used car markets. Availability of good retail-quality stock will remain critical, however, if dealers are to meet the needs of their customers. There is no doubt that the volumes generated back into the used sector from the September plate change will rise during October, and this will inevitably put some pressure on average values and conversion rates during the weeks ahead. We are already seeing an upturn in the supply of dealer partexchanges at BCA, reflecting reports that retail sales have been strong in recent weeks. However, supplies of fleet and lease vehicles are likely to remain constrained, a consequence of the reduced new car sales to the business sector following the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. [CD]

Buyers’ guide

Freelander association with


Warrantywise helps you choose the best stock for your forecourt. This month, the Land Rover Freelander is the model in the spotlight

What is it? Before the Freelander, Land Rover was only known for building the adventurous Discovery, workhorse Defender and posh Range Rover, but nothing to appeal to younger buyers. This is where the Freelander fitted in – with Tonka toy styling and funky colours, it had youthful appeal in spades. A more upmarket facelifted version arrived in 2002 before a brand-new model called Freelander 2 debuted in 2006.

What CAN GO WRONG? Head gasket failures on the Rover 1.8-litre K-Series engine are well documented. Check if the head gasket has been replaced. If it has, find out if it was replaced with a modified multi-layer steel head gasket rather than an original, which will fail again. The viscous coupling unit (VCU) on the prop shaft is a sealed unit that has a life span of about 70,000 miles. If not replaced regularly this could cause damage to the drive train and gearbox. The timing belt on petrol engines

(not the TD4 as this has a timing chain) should be replaced every 72,000 miles. Meanwhile, drivetrains take a beating on Freelanders, Check underneath them to see if there are any leaks coming from the front transfer box or the rear diff’ and check for a clunk from the drivetrain when driving – this could indicate a problem with the IRD unit (transfer box). A whining from the rear of the Freelander could be a sign of problems with the rear differential or the rear differential bushes, and three warning lights showing on the dash is normally just faulty sensors. Freelanders have fragile electrics, with rear tailgate windows, sunroofs and windows all suffering from failure. Central locking plays up on a regular basis, and the remote control unit can be quite temperamental.

What’s the perfect freelander? Post-facelift three-door TD4 manual model with air conditioning. Look for cars in dark grey and blacks with dark-coloured interiors. [CD]

Warrantywise’s top facts 32 per cent of all Freelander warranties in the past 18 months have claims logged against them. Pricing (subject to change depending on engine size/ age/mileage): Trade price - £220 – six months – Platinum cover Top claims: n Differential n Sunroof n Clutch

£909.79 £894.10 £713.05

Top problems: n Clutch n Head gasket n Window regulators n IRD unit


Freelanders fitted with the Rover 1.8-litre K-Series engine are notorious for having head gasket problems. There are a number of other problems too


The most popular with buyers are Freelanders fitted with the TD4 diesel engine. Threedoors sell well too, as do cars presented in dark colours

Cover your customers from unexpected repair bills & maximise

your profits.

0800 001 4550 | 97

data file.


Volkswagen Transporter

Percentage of total number of searches on for the month

VW Caddy

2.75% Volkswagen Crafter


Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

4.29% Ford Transit


Mercedes-Benz Vito


White van man now takes to sleeping in his pride and joy Nation’s tradespeople are living and working in their vans


ew research published by Direct Line for Business reveals that Britain’s builders, plumbers, electricians and other tradespeople are living out of their vans - using them as mobile offices, bedrooms and entertainment centres. While not wanting to be accused of taking naps at work, Britain’s tradespeople are using their vans as mobile homes, with 11 per cent sleeping in their vehicle. Almost a third (31 per cent) of tradespeople use their van as a mobile office to manage their business. Vans are also used as mobile dining rooms, with 45 per cent of tradespeople eating their

meals in their vehicle. It seems some tradespeople are making their vans a danger to their health, too, as more than one in ten (14 per cent) builders, plumbers and electricians smoke in their work vehicles.   Melissa Hunt, business manager at Direct Line for Business, said: ‘With tradespeople working long hours, it is no wonder they often end up eating, managing paperwork and even sleeping in their vehicles.  ‘However, customising their van with the latest gadgets and installing entertainment centres may not only be a distraction and compromise their safety, but it is unlikely to be covered if stolen.’

DEALFINDER. Latest deals on COMMERCIALS NISSAN has made our a five-speed manual NISSAN list of top three deals this gearbox, which has NV200 month with its NV200. an 85bhp power The 1.5 dCi SE spec van output. Meanwhile, it is priced at just £9,495. It produces only 137g/ comes with the average km of CO2 and has a manufacturer 10,000competitive combined mile three-year warranty, fuel consumption figure of which is also accompanied by RAC 54.3mpg. cover. Type into Mated to its 1.5-litre engine is a web browser for more details.

NEXT up is Peugeot’s player and two integrated PEUGEOT child seats. Expert, the 1.6 HDi 90 H1 EXPERT Professional Van, which Its 1.6-litre engine is has a price tag of £11,495. bolted to a five-speed For a slightly higher manual gearbox, which price, it offers even more produces 90bhp. practicality and a few It emits 177g/km of CO2 extra luxuries. and has a respectable Inside, drivers will find 39.2mpg. air-conditioning, Bluetooth Type into a connectivity, radio cassette/CD web browser for more details.

your sales...

With the #1 website dedicated to vans 98 | association with Ford Transit Custom



Vauxhall Vivaro



Barcelona leads the way Mitsubishi L200 Fiat Ducato



Ford’s new Transit Connect is the jurors’ favourite and is named van of the year FORD’S new Transit Connect has been named International Van of the Year 2014 at the COMTRANS commercial vehicle exhibition in Moscow. It sees Ford become the first manufacturer to win the award for two consecutive years. Ford registered its fifth International Van of the Year victory after the jury of 24 European specialist journalists awarded the Transit Connect 130 points out of a maximum possible 163. This put it ahead of the

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with 123 points and Renault Kangoo at 25 points. The award follows previous achievements for the Transit in 2001, Transit Connect in 2003, Transit in 2007 and Transit Custom in 2013. ‘Our teams across Europe are justifiably over the moon with this great news,’ said Transit Connect chief program engineer Stephen Lesh. ‘The team has worked to deliver the perfect vehicle for our hard-working customers.’

VAUXHALL’S Vivaro is the final such as driver airbags, ABS and VAUXHALL body side-protection mouldings. LCV in this month’s top three VIVARO deals. It has a higher price than In addition, it comes with the Nissan NV200, at £14,279, a number of warranties to but it is larger. guarantee driver peace-ofThe 2.0-litre CDTi is mated mind, including a manufacturer, to a Tecshift gearbox and 10,000-mile three-year features air-conditioning, electric warranty, a one-year paintwork windows and door mirrors, along with warranty and a six-year anti-corrosion Bluetooth connectivity. It’s also extremely warranty. Type into safe, featuring a number of safety devices a web browser for more details.


he biennial Frankfurt Motor Show is the undisputed behemoth of motor shows, spanning countless cavernous halls and even a symphony auditorium, and one of the more interesting LCV developments of this year’s show could be found over at Nissan. Keen to build on the success of the all-electric Leaf car, the Japanese brand is turning its attention to vans — namely the e-NV200. As the name suggests, this is the electric version of the NV200 van, using the electric battery unit and motor found in the Leaf but without impacting on load space. Over in Frankfurt, Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn announced a deal with the city of Barcelona that will see all-electric taxis hit the streets in 2014. When you think about it, it makes sense — inner-city locations and destinations, lots of short trips, zero emissions, and a vehicle-recharge time short enough for a taxi driver to enjoy a quick plate of tapas before switching the fare meter back on. When you factor in that the NV200 is built in the Spanish city and will be used as a very public trial, it further reinforces what a good move this is. I suspect that to some, electric vehicles will always be an anathema, yet it seems in late-2013 that electric power is now applauded and criticised in equal measure — surely a sign of progress when it was only criticised not so long ago? Sure as a technology, electric power is a long way from solving many of our road transportation requirements but in our cities switching to electric makes sense.

‘Electric is a long way from solving many of our needs but in cities switching to electric makes sense.’

Who is Richard Lawton?

Richard is marketing manager for Really Good Domains and on the team at TheVanWebsite. and Contact:

Call 0161 482 7650

for your 3-month trial or visit | 99


To find out more and to arrange a personal visit, please contact one of our Directors; John D Voss – 07525 720024 or Andrew R Hubbard - 07711 687771or Tel: 0116 271 6737

Old fashioned values, modern day thinking 100 |


Volvo launches new servicing website

Preparations made for October’s ‘supply spike’ Manheim says market shows strong appetite for used vehicles

200 cars, achieving a sale rate of 99.7 per cent of CAP. In the lead-up to this anticipated surge in wholesale stock, Manheim has invested in infrastructure, reopened and extended its Coventry site, enhanced its vehicle-grading system to adhere to NAMA’s recommendations and updated its appraisal process. Chris Cush, operations director at Manheim, said: ‘Good business practice is all about understanding where the market is going and changing your operation to suit. That is precisely what we have been doing over the past year. ‘While we’ve been achieving some staggeringly good values at auction in recent months, we need to be realistic about the changing market and the impact that more supply will have on values.’

BCA: Used car market reaches record high USED cars outsold new models in the UK last year by a staggering five million units, according to a new BCA report. Sales of used cars hit 7.1m units in 2012, generating revenue of £38.1bn – the equivalent of Serbia’s GDP. SMMT figures show that just over two million new cars were sold in the same period. car sales by CarMeanwhile, dealer used cowboy ads rose 28/8/13

auction stations

In the mood for change



anheim is predicting an increase in vehicle supply to the UK wholesale market during October and the early part of November. Fuelled by the increase in defleeted company cars and the seasonal influx in part-exchanges, following the September plate change, the remarketing specialist is expecting a rise of up to 20 per cent compared to average monthly supply. In readiness for the anticipated surge in stock, Manheim has increased marketing activity, building up its buyer base by 20 per cent over the past year in order to maintain strong CAP values seen in recent weeks at auction. September’s market shows there is still a strong appetite for vehicles. Manheim’s Northampton site held two sales that saw nearly 300 vehicles achieving in excess of 97 per cent CAP clean for part-exchange vehicles that normally average in the mid-nineties. Similarly, at a mid-month fleet sale at Colchester, 350 buyers fought hard over


6.4 per cent in 2012 – and dealers accounted for 57.2 per cent of all those sales – shifting just over four million used vehicles. BCA’s Tim Naylor said: ‘Dealers have been working hard to improve the perception of the used car sector, and the product itself is of a much higher standard Page than even 15:49 1 a decade ago.’

No cowboys. Just Just trade trade professionals. professionals.

he annual publication of the BCA Used Car Market Report throws up interesting nuggets of information for the sector — this year there was a focus on how the retail landscape might change as the UK climbs out of recession. Although economic recovery has a long way to go, there were signs of optimism in the BCA consumer survey for the 2013 report. There was a significant rise in the number of car owners who said they would ‘certainly’ or ‘quite likely’ buy a car in the next 12 months — up by four per cent to 14 per cent year on year. More than three-quarters (78 per cent) of motorists intend to buy a used car next time they change their car. Of those buying a used car, around a third planned to buy a diesel – some way short of diesel’s current 50 per cent share of the new car market. Motorists polled said overwhelmingly (90 per cent) they would look for a different type of car next time. Three years ago, 20 per cent of motorists said they would buy the same car next time; that has halved to just 10 per cent. This drive for change has been brought about by rising running costs. Changing to a car with ‘better fuel consumption’ was cited by 29 per cent of motorists, while 22 per cent were looking for a model with ‘lower road tax’. ‘Best purchase price’, ‘a smaller car’ and ‘lower maintenance’ were other prominent features that motorists will take into account when deciding which car to buy next time round. Cost and economy remain significant factors. Seventyeight per cent of respondents said they had already taken steps to cut their car running costs — a rise of eight per cent over last year. Practical measures adopted to generate savings include ‘keeping tyres at the right pressure’ (22 per cent), ‘driving more slowly’ (15 per cent), ‘avoiding heavy braking’ (15 per cent) and ‘accelerating less quickly’ (15 per cent). However, the critical factor for used car dealers is the desire to drive ‘a more fuel-efficient car’, cited by 13 per cent of those polled for the survey.

Who is Simon Henstock?

Simon is UK network operations director for BCA. Visit or call 0845 600 6644.

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: | 101

TRADER TALK. association with AutoTrader

Web search optimisation cannot be seen as a luxury Traders are paying for campaigns that do not deliver as they should


ore than half of dealers are failing to recognise the importance of search engine optimisation for their business, according to a recent industry survey. When asked whether they allocated any budget to SEO, 57 per cent said ‘no’. The survey followed the publication of a report which showed that almost three out of four businesses (71 per cent) plan to increase digital marketing spend this year, with SEO a popular area for investment. However, the survey results suggest this trend is not reflected in the automotive retail industry. Many dealer websites still struggle to incorporate a strategy to maximise SEO potential. With nine out of 10 buyers turning to search engines as their first port of call when it comes to finding their next used car, it’s vital that dealers target the right people in their SEO and pay-per-click strategy to deliver quality traffic to their websites. The reality, though, is often very different. It’s not uncommon for us to discover dealers targeting keywords which are not relevant or do not reflect the way car buyers are searching. It means that dealers are not only failing to attract the right people to their websites but they are

‘Many dealers still struggle to incorporate a strategy to maximise search potential’ also paying for search campaigns that are not delivering as well as they should. Dealers should focus on Google because it is by far the most popular search engine in the UK — accounting for more than 90 per cent of all UK searches. In most cases, if a website ranks well on Google it will also rank well on all other search engines. There are two elements to the search engine optimisation process: ‘onpage’ or ‘onsite’ optimisation and ‘offpage’ or ‘offsite’ optimisation. Onpage optimisation presents web pages to search engines in a language that they can read easily. Just as many English-speakers couldn’t read a French novel, there are some websites where search engines find the code difficult to read. Offpage optimisation looks at the amount and quality of websites that link to your website. Links from other websites are vital for SEO

performance. Getting the right number and right quality of links to your website is one of the main ranking factors that search engines use to determine who ranks top. It’s a very tricky balance and the main reason why dealers should look to use a specialist SEO agency. Unless the balance is exactly right, performance on search engines can suffer. There are a number of ways to measure success but the main thing to measure should be the number and quality of sales leads that a campaign generates. Ideally, conversion of leads to actual sales should also be monitored to measure the success of the campaign based on return on investment. The importance of SEO should not be underestimated. It is not an optional ‘like to do’, it is an essential ‘need to do’ that will raise a dealer’s profile and deliver quality leads.

Who is Anthony Robinson?

Anthony Robinson is head of SEO at Razsor – part of the Trader Media Group


Manage your pricing quickly and easily It’s not always easy to know what to pay or charge for stock. And with so many sources to consult, it can be difficult to stay on top of prices. Our Intelligence Packages are run by clever robots that quickly provide you all the answers you need to know. Including Profit Indicator and Market Tracker, you can check what’s profitable before you buy and stay competitively priced before you sell. So, why not give the Ro. Bots. A. Try. To find out more about our Intelligence Packages, just call us on 08433 088 875 or visit 102 |

ON TRACK. association with TRACKER

Sale of units ‘a no-brainer’ for dealer Manager welcomes addition to his group’s standard revenue stream


he vehicle market is on the up but today’s climate is still very uncertain, so the wise dealers out there are looking beyond traditional income streams to ensure profits remain healthy. I’ve already talked about add-ons being essential profit generators and the fact that many dealers are unaware of the unique opportunity selling TRACKER units offers, with both the traditional margin available as well as a slice of the subscription that dealers collect for us. But let’s hear from someone who has experience of trading in TRACKERs and has seen first-hand how beneficial they can be as a selling tool. Pete Walker, group after-sales manager at the Westover Group, says: ‘As one of the largest privately-owned motoring groups in the south of England, we feel a successful dealership is one who caters for all the customers’ needs. ‘By offering all the necessary add-ons like tracking units, we are able to ensure the customer stays with us through the selling process, allowing us to provide a thorough, yet convenient, service. Our sales executives deal directly with the customer and ensure that the units are fitted to the highest dealer standards. ‘The profit generated by the sale of TRACKER units has been a welcome addition to our standard revenue stream. In April this year we fitted our 250th unit. For us, selling TRACKER units is a no-brainer and an excellent way to sustain growth, particularly in such an uncertain retail market.’

‘Stolen-vehicle tracking systems represent a rich vein of opportunity that has been untapped — until now.’ So there you have it. Whether it’s at the time of purchase or during the ownership cycle, TRACKER is one profit generator dealers cannot afford to miss out on. But it’s not just the profit potential that makes TRACKER attractive, car owners truly want this product. Car thieves are prolific and sophisticated, using various methods to counteract even the most resilient security systems the manufacturers fit. If a dealer can offer its customers a way to protect their assets, it will only strengthen the relationship and keep them coming back. Our latest figures show that over £12.5m-worth of vehicles were recovered in 2012 by the police as a result of TRACKER technology. TRACKER offers worried owners the ultimate peace of mind that should their vehicle be stolen it will most likely be recovered within 24

hours. TRACKER has sold more than one million tracking units in the UK alone and counts every police force across the country as a partner, with 95 per cent of vehicles fitted with a TRACKER being returned to the rightful owner and 86 per cent of these being returned within 24 hours. We have made it easier for dealers to sell TRACKER units and are keen to talk to dealers across the board that aren’t aware of this profit opportunity. Where other avenues of optimising profit may have been exhausted, stolen-vehicle tracking systems represent a rich vein of opportunity that has been untapped — until now.

Who is David Wilson? David is sales and service director for TRACKER. Read his column here every month.


0845 604 6028 J20364 Car Dealer Strip Advert.indd 1 | 103 18/3/13 12:55:27

MOTOR MOUTH. association with

Moving on to mobile devices Make sure the right content is accessible on the right platform


s with every industry, the automotive sector has seen a massive shift in the way in which people search for information. The phenomenal growth of mobile browsing has made a significant impact on the way in which consumers buy and sell used vehicles. Indeed, there is a realistic chance that around half of traffic to classified and dealer websites will be from a mobile device by the end of the year. Supporting this trend, has seen a massive leap in the number of people visiting its website from a mobile phone, growing from 14 per cent in 2012 to 40 per cent in 2013. Statistics from Google confirm that 35 per cent of all automotive searches now take place on mobile and tablet devices, so there’s no doubt about the importance of having a responsive website to ensure consumers get the best possible experience, regardless of access point. The launch of HTML5 and CSS3 technology, as well as the growing proliferation of different types and screen sizes of mobile devices, means that it is even more important that dealers are able to get their message across in a way which will resonate with their audience. This means making sure that the right content is accessible on the appropriate platforms. A responsive website that has been designed to provide optimal viewing — easy reading without the need for resizing across a wide range of devices — will be far more effective than developing a different site for each platform.

‘Dealer groups that have not formulated a responsive online strategy need to get their thinking caps on.’ However, despite the strong arguments for responsive design, the reality is that dealer groups have found it challenging to navigate their way through the ‘marketing speak’ to determine the best solution for their needs. There has been a great deal of talk about the whole range of online marketing tools over the past 18 months, with changes to Google’s search algorithms, an explosion in social media platforms and the growth in accessible mobile devices making their way to market. With that in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that our recent research showed just three of the UK’s top 100 dealer groups actually have responsive websites in place. However, the tide is beginning to turn. While the big dealer groups have been slower to roll out responsive web design, the smaller dealers have embraced the opportunity to deliver the best possible online experience, regardless of access point or device used.

Indeed, is now approaching the launch of its 100th responsive site since introducing the Flex platform 10 months ago. These dealers, who are nimble enough to act quickly and take on the Flex challenge, have seen demonstrable success in the performance of their new responsive website, with improvements to the amount of time spent on site, the number of page views per visit and a fall in the bounce rate. In fact, has recently launched a premium edition of the web platform, Flex Plus, to offer an enhanced package provision to dealers. The figures for mobile access are only going one way — up. That means that the dealer groups that have not yet formulated a responsive online strategy will need to get their thinking caps on fairly quickly.

TheisE The Eye Motors. complete complete respo tracking tracking syste The Eye is’s The Eye is complete response’s tracking system complete response Who is Andy Coulthurst? The Eye is tracking system The Eye The is’s is complete response’s The Eye is’s tracking system complete response’s complete response tracking system system complete response tracking tracking system It monitors vehicle views and gives you

ears too. With detailed call informatio Andy is managing director of download, monitor and trackreports’. your callA It monitors vehicle views and gives you live ‘response too. With detailed information and full call recording Read his ears thoughts herecall Best all, you this world-class trac download, monitor and trackof your callsget instantly and accura part of your advertising package with M every month.

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CRYSTAL CLEAR. association with Glass’s


ugust marked the 18th consecutive month of growth for the UK automotive industry, with more vehicles being sold than in any other year prior to 2007. However, considering the parlous state of the European industry, one begins to wonder whether the UK market is sustainable or if it’s already beginning to show signs of overheating? Any slowdown will, in no small part, be achieved via the heady cocktail of vehicle manufacturers employing ‘aircraft-carrier economics’ alongside exceptionally competitive rates of finance and the advent of PPI compensation, which on recent estimates averages £2,750 per claim – making financing via personal contract purchase (PCP) a very attractive prospect indeed. Between 2009 and the end of 2011, the percentage of private new vehicles financed by PCP schemes rose from 33 per cent to 47 per cent. The PCP figure further rose to 55 per cent in 2012, and as of the end of May this year the Financed and Leasing Association (FLA) reported that its members had reached a penetration level of 73.5 per cent for their products in the private vehicle sales market. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the private sector is running an average Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of sales in excess of anything witnessed since 2005. To know whether this is a sustainable level of growth, we must consider the components that constitute the UK new car market: private, business and fleet. Looking at the overall picture, we see that the market is displaying clear signs of recovery. However, looking at the overall SAAR, April to July has been – even after adjustment –

UK, seasonally adjusted, total new registrations, 2012-2013

100 90 80 70

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul

Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun


Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Seasonally adjusted UK new registrations, by sector, 2012-2013

Seasonally adjusted index of new registrations

Is the market sustainable or is it already showing signs of overheating?

Seasonally adjusted index of new registrations (100 = 08/2005)

Is the UK new car market beginning to cool down?


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul



Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun


Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


unseasonably strong, and only now is the market showing signs of slight cooling and a stabilisation to a rate closer to that of Q4 2012/Q1 2013. Furthermore, when splitting these figures out into their constituent sectors (private, fleet and business) we start to see some very striking trends. The private sector may currently be recording its best sales since 2005, but the business sector hasn’t recovered from recessionary-level sales. On the positive note, we are heading into a period when the fleet sector registers growth in new registrations (indicated in chart two by the increase from August to November and has occurred in Q4 for the past three years). This year, the suggestions are that the same will occur, with (as reported on p101) Manheim recently announcing that it is anticipating a 20 per cent growth in supply of vehicles, primarily from defleeted company cars as well as the seasonal influx of part-exchanges, which points to fleet companies refreshing vehicle inventories. However, one should be mindful that while

this growth will give good reason to cheer, it will still be below pre-2008 levels and, furthermore, the fleet sector is only performing marginally better (on average) than its 2009-to-2011 figures. This raises an important question for the market: when the ‘private party’ stops, who will be left picking up the bill? One hopes that fleet will rally, as it has historically done over Q4. However, in the longer term there is little evidence to suggest that either the fleet or the business sectors are displaying the willingness to step into the fray, especially as the business sector is unlikely to fully recover, because of outsourcing to fleet. Thankfully, irrespective of the indicators which are beginning to appear, when projecting the SAAR of new vehicle registrations through the remainder of the year, indications are that the UK should witness 2.19m registrations by the end of 2013.

What is Glass’s?

To find out more or about how Glass’s can help you, log on to to learn more details

One way to get the best price. Coming soon

Call 01932 823 824 or visit

GLASS’S | 105

FRONT RUNNER. association with Frontline Solutions

Act now: Change won’t go away – it’s here to stay New requirements must be integrated into your processes and procedures


his is the first of my columns in Car Dealer magazine and I would like to welcome you to it. Over the coming months I will look at issues that impact on the performance and profitability of motor dealers — especially from a finance and insurance perspective. With the future of the industry about to undergo significant change (for instance, with the introduction of the Financial Conduct Authority), I believe stimulation of debate in this area can only be positive. One thing is for sure: the burying of heads in the sand is not an option — at some stage engagement WILL be required! Let’s look at how change is welcomed within dealerships. I think it’s fair to say that in many cases change is not welcome — there are many people within the industry that have made a very

‘Burying of heads in the sand is not an option — at some stage engagement WILL be required!’ 106 |

good living and enjoyed successful careers out of doing things in their own unchanging way. So when a change, such as new F&I regulation, comes along, many people will try to avoid it and see if there are ‘ways around’ the new regime. I’ve had considerable experience in this area — in a previous role I worked with the introduction of FSA regulation of insurance products and I lost count of the number of phone calls that I received where dealers wanted to let me know that they were confident that they had ‘found a loophole’ in the new regulations. Of course, there were no such loopholes. However, this illustrates an important point — that there was a substantial amount of time and energy being put into trying to find ways to circumvent new mandatory rules. Surely this energy and time could have been better utilised in embracing the new regime and just getting on with things? Also, some dealerships struggle with embedding the required change into their businesses. There can be political issues and resistance to change within the organisation. The hard fact is that change within the industry is inevitable. Sometimes it will be forced on us by regulation

or the requirements of our business partners and, in some cases, it is the best thing for a company to do. I strongly recommend that when change is required you grab it with both hands and integrate it into your processes and procedures — don’t think it will all go away. There are benefits in doing this. You could steal a march on competitors who may decide to wait until the last minute and then rush into a solution, and you can also spend time putting together a good-news message to your customers that you have acknowledged the new rules and are on top of things. It also means that you have a proven template for managing change in the future. It might be worth taking a look at your own business — is it in good shape to embrace essential industry change? If not, then maybe it’s worth considering how things can be improved.

Who is Martin Hill?

Martin is national sales manager at Frontline Solutions. Contact him on 07739 751748 or martin.hill@

Wrap up this winter....

Call : Email : Web :

07794 903235 | 107

data file.


The simple look will always be in fashion


hen I tell people that I work in the motor trade, they often start doing terrible Boycie impressions and ask me where my camel coat and trilby are. There is one motor trade accessory which you would definitely not find me without – my trusty Nokia phone. I am not a technophobe. Were it not for my interest in social media, I would not be writing for Car Dealer Magazine. I have an iPad, PS3, and iPod, while the COMAND system in a Mercedes-Benz would test any of the minds from Silicon Valley, yet I would not be seen dead with an iPhone. I remember my dad (fellow camel-coat-wearer) getting a mobile phone in the early 1990s. I say mobile, but he reminded me of a character from Ghostbusters, as he wielded a suitcase-sized battery pack around. As phones developed, got smaller and certainly more mobile, Nokia launched a phone which will live on in motor trade folklore: the 6210i. The 6210i was seemingly fashioned from carved blocks of titanium, meaning that it could withstand being thrown from a speeding Escort Cossie, with only a small tell-tale chip on the edge. Every car manufacturer seemed to make a car kit for it, and the sound clarity was excellent. I see many of my colleagues re-enacting the scene from ’Allo ’Allo these days: ’ello London, this is Nighthawk calling’. The screen was the size of an IMAX cinema, with basic functions to text, store numbers in the phone book and to play Snake. If I showed a ten-year-old Snake, he would look at me in the same way that I might have looked at my dad were he to produce a ball and cup. The giant keypad had ergonomic excellence, and everyone within a ten-mile radius knew you were composing a text, what with having to tap each letter out individually with a loud beep. Perhaps the most amazing feature, particularly when compared to modern phones, was the battery life. I think Nokia must have bought a job lot from NASA, as the battery would last the length of any lunar expedition before requiring a charge. Whilst Nokia may not be the force it once was, there is one customer for life in Guildford.

‘The battery would last the length of any lunar expedition before requiring a charge.’

Who is James Litton?

James is sales manager at Tony Purslow Mercedes Benz, Guildford. He always has something to say about the industry he loves. 108 |

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Want to be included in this section? Call (023) 9252 2434

Drivers consider skipping next car service Almost 13 million motorists treat MOT as the only form of safety inspection


esearch from Kwik Fit, the UK’s leading MOT provider, has revealed that more than 39 per cent of motorists are thinking of skipping their next

never checked their tyres, while nearly one in seven quizzed admitted they were currently experiencing a problem with their brakes but were not actively looking to repair it. Data also revealed that drivers in the south-west were most likely to skip their next service, where a staggering 45 per cent admitted they definitely will. Meanwhile, only 22 per cent of motorists asked in Scotland said they would skip their next service – the lowest in the UK. ‘It is very concerning to find that

car service. It means that for almost 13 million motorists, the MOT test is the only time their vehicle will undergo any sort of safety inspection. If nothing else, this tells dealers that there is an opportunity for them to target those motorists and offer their vehicle service packages. Worryingly, research shows that 10 per cent of UK motorists who were asked confessed that they

so many motorists are thinking of skipping their next service – especially considering the number of drivers who don’t make their own checks on their car,’ says Kwik Fit director of communications Roger Griggs. ‘Tyres, brakes and lights are all crucial to road safety, so it is vitally important that they are regularly checked and not just left until the MOT is due.’

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Only need apply! Marshall Motor Group is part of a unique family owned group of companies with a turnover approaching £1bn (35% growth), with interests also in the aerospace and ground systems sectors. We celebrated our Centenary in 2009 and we are still growing in size. At Marshall, wherever we work, we all play a big part in ensuring that our sales and profit targets are met, not least by providing our customers with a fantastic level of service which means identifying their needs, and responding to them quickly.


We are looking for talented automotive professionals to join our team. If this is you and you share our passion for being the best then you can look forward to a great benefits package, the chance to build on your skills and experience with ongoing training, plus all the encouragement and support you need to develop a rewarding, long-term career with us. Please go to

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With our strong customer centric and people focus it is not surprising that we have received some enviable accolades including "Dealer Group of the Year" and being shortlisted for "Employer of the Year" and we are committed to building on our achievements to date.

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WE’RE RECRUITING... PETER VARDY IS NOW RECRUITING IN MANY AREAS FOR ALL OF OUR DEALERSHIPS. We’re looking for people with drive, passion and retail sales or customer experience. You don’t need a motor industry background, just the desire to succeed. We’ll give you all the world class training you need... plus a great financial package, and every Sunday off. If you want the chance to build a career with Scotland fastest growing motor retail group then apply today.

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the fleet.

WELCOME TO THE FLEET... First report:

KiaCarens All change: In comes a luxurious white Kia

AFTER running the brilliant Volvo XC60 for a number of months, I approached my new assignment with an element of scepticism. The new recruit is Korean. It is finished in a rather ‘out-there’ dazzling white hue, as opposed to the conservative Seashell Metallic (beige). And it boasts a comparatively measly 1.7-litre turbo diesel engine rather than a 2.4-litre, 212bhp lump. The biggest difference between our latest arrival and the highly-praised Swede is the price tag. The Kia costs almost half the price of the big Volvo, yet it doesn’t hold back on the lavish options. Our ‘3’ model comes with a full leather interior, sunblinds, a panoramic sunroof, reversing camera and a trick audio system. Not bad at all for £23,895. The drive isn’t too shabby, either. The steering is light yet responsive, the gearshift and stubby lever swap cogs with a slick action, and the 1.7 CRDi engine surprises with its poke around town. There are also clever hidden cubbyholes dotted throughout the cabin. There are fold-down tables on the backs of front seats, and the light in the boot can be removed and used as a torch. The Korean marque should rebrand itself I-Kia (sorry). We’re looking forward to the first proper road trip in its leathery luxury. Leon Poultney (@BlokesInCars)

the knowledge

First report:

MitsubishiASX Our ASX gets swapped for another... a brown one

I’VE never liked goodbyes, but when it came to returning our long-term ASX the blow was softened considerably by the fact we swapped it straightaway for a new one. The latest addition to the Car Dealer fleet is another ASX 4, so we’ve still got the leather seats, sat nav and reversing camera, but this time it’s a 1.6-litre petrol engine instead of a 1.8 diesel. First impressions of the new car are good. It doesn’t have as much low-down grunt as the diesel but the power is there and it’s impressive for a 1.6. Unlike the diesel, this model has five gears, not six, and the gearbox is nice and smooth. As you’d expect, the MPG isn’t as good as the diesel but you can get around 44mpg doing 70 on the motorway. And it’s a quieter ride too. What makes the ASX even more attractive is the fact that Mitsubishi has just reduced the price, so it now starts at £14,999 (down from £16,499), making it cheaper than the Kia Sportage and the Hyundai ix35. Is it better than these cars? Time will tell and we’ll find out over the next few months. But in the meantime it makes a strong case for itself and is a strong alternative to the crossover mainstream and definitely worth a look. Gareth Bethell (@garethbethell)

the knowledge

Fourth report:

SkodaCitigo Citigo Sport serves up some little niggles

OVER the past few months I’ve been accused of secretly working for Skoda. I can categorically say my allegiances are completely with editing this publication and I have not been fraternising with the Czechs. People have been saying this because I haven’t mentioned one bad thing about Car Dealer’s Citigo Sport. Well, stick this in your pipe and smoke it because I have a few grievances to air. The first – are you all listening? – concerns the seat belt warning system. Normally, these contraptions bong and shout at you when you haven’t got your seat belt on, but at a certain time of the month our Sport decides to bong and shout when you have your seat belt ON. The only cure is to stop, unclick your seat belt and start all over again. Secondly, the fuel gauge seems to read full for days on end and then, within a matter of minutes, the needle moves speedily around to empty, causing panic that you’re going to run out. So, you pull over at a petrol station and decide to fill up to err on the side of caution, and then it takes 15 minutes to try to undo the filler cap. Locking it afterwards seems to make no difference because it’s impossible to open it in the first place. And then... (happy now?)

James Batchelor (@JRRBatchelor)

the knowledge

Model: Kia Carens ‘3’ 1.7 CRDi manual ISG Price: £23,895 (as tested) Engine: 1.7-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel Power: 134bhp, 330Nm Max speed: 119mph 0-60mph: 10s Emissions: 132g/km Mileage this month: 206

Model: Mitsubishi ASX 4 Price: £18,130 (as tested) Engine: 1.6-litre, petrol Power: 115bhp, 154Nm Max speed: 113mph 0-60mph: 11.4s Emissions: 137g/km Mileage this month: 167

Model: Skoda Citigo Sport Price: £11,050 (as tested) Engine: 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, petrol Power: 58bhp, 95Nm Max speed: 99mph 0-60mph: 14.2s Emissions: 105g/km Mileage this month: 876

This month’s highlight The torch. Within five minutes of driving, the reviewer lost his phone but found it with the torch

This month’s highlight Change of ASX brings in a silky smooth petrol. It’s the little things in life....

This month’s highlight In the interests of appearing balanced, there are no highlights at all. None whatsoever

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Fifth report:

Sixth report:

NissanQashqai RenaultTwizy Our Qashqai fits like a glove. Apparently

WE all know the feeling. After a couple of weeks on holiday, there’s nothing better than finally making it home. And, believe it or not, the same was true for me when I climbed behind the wheel of Car Dealer’s Qashqai earlier this month. You see, after a couple of weeks’ trading cars faster than swingers swap wives, I came to value the familiar old 360 more than ever. I’d been behind the wheel of everything from modern supercars to industrial 4x4s and as much as I enjoy driving, each new car requires some degree of adjustment. But not so with our Qashqai 360. It fits like an old glove. That’s not to say it’s boring. It most certainly is not. There’s plenty of poke and the model looks good inside and out. There’s plenty of gadgetry to keep you comfortable and entertained – particularly for a model that costs just a whisker over £22,000 – but not so much that it detracts from the overall experience. After all, does anyone really care that you can check the pressure of your front right tyre while having a shiatsu massage? Isn’t it far more important to be able to jump in and be able to operate the wipers without having to reach for the drivers’ manual? Mal Hay (@MalcolmHay)

the knowledge

Twizy’s new fan saves me £10 parking fee

‘WHAT on earth is that?’ the robotic voice asked through the tiny speaker at the barrier in the marina car park. ‘It’s a quadricycle — it’s called a Twizy,’ I replied. ‘Wow, it’s really cool. What sort of engine has it got?’ I was impressed by the powers of detection of a speaker until I spotted a camera pointing at my little EV. ‘It hasn’t got an engine,’ I explained. ‘It’s electric. Takes four hours to charge and does 50 miles.’ ‘That’s impressive! What’s it like to drive — scary on the road?’ asked the speaker, more interested in my Renault than why I’d pressed the help button. ‘Well it’s great — lots of fun, silent and gets more looks than a Ferrari,’ I said, wondering what the four drivers waiting behind me thought about my reviewing skills. ‘I want one — where can I get one? Are they expensive?’ the Gosport inquisition continued. ‘You have to pay for the car — £7k — and then rent the batteries for £40 a month from Renault,’ I explained, adding: ‘I am in a bit of a hurry and I’ve forgotten to pay for my ticket. Could you let me through so I can come to your office to pay?’ ‘Oh, sorry mate,’ said the putative Twizy buyer. ‘Don’t worry about that. See you later — nice car!’ The barrier rose and my £10 parking fee was waived. Twizy power continues to impress…

Ninth report:

Peugeot208 Pug is here for so long it clocks up first service

THE months with our 208 continue to fly by, and this month we hit a bit of a milestone in KR62 VPO’s life – its first service. Bless. We trotted down to Hamble Motors Southampton and – after a bit of booking confusion at their end – we were in business. Hamble seemed to disagree with the Pug’s service intervals, too. We took it in just after its 12,000-mile birthday, spanner light glowing in resplendent glory, but the chaps on the service desk were under the impression it needed to chart up another 8k first. Strange. Still, 24 hours and £170 later, the 208 was back in our possession with a nice red stamp in the service book – not the highest servicing costs, but not the lowest either. The check-up did highlight a bit of a blip in the Peugeot’s health record though – a dead rear wash/wipe motor. Evidently, none of us had spotted it, but a new one has been ordered, which will be popped in under warranty. Aside from that, the 208 continues to soldier on. This month it’s mostly been in the hands of our head of video, Nige, who’s been weighing the poor hatchback down with copious bags of cameras, lights and beefy-looking tripods before jetting off to locations far and wide. Have either of them complained? Not one bit. Jon Reay (@JonReay)

James Baggott (@CarDealerEd)

the knowledge

the knowledge

Model: Nissan Qashqai 360 Price: £22,090(as tested) Engine: 1.5-litre, turbocharged diesel Power: 128bhp, 320Nm Max speed: 118mph 0-60mph: 10.7s Emissions: 135g/km Mileage this month: 1,765

Model: Renault Twizy Colour Price: £7,690 (as tested) Engine: Electric motor Power: 17bhp, 57Nm Max speed: 50mph 0-60mph: n/a Emissions: 0g/km Mileage this month: 124

Model: Peugeot 208 Active Vti 1.2 Price: £14,550 (as tested) Engine: 1.2-litre, petrol Power: 82bhp, 118Nm Max speed: 109mph 0-60mph: 13.8s Emissions: 104g/km Mileage this month: 468

This month’s highlight It’s simple to use. You don’t have to resort to breaking open the handbook. Always nice, that

This month’s highlight The Twizy rises up the greasy pole and is given its own little stable to rest in

This month’s highlight Service highlights a problem but it’s going to be fixed | 113

data fiLe.

Regulatory changes are on their way and they are confusing S

ince writing my last piece for this magazine, the sales teams within First Response Finance have been working with car dealers nationwide to offer advice and assistance in relation to the regulatory changes which are coming

our way. We have been focusing on the movement in regulation for consumer credit licensing from the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) from April 1, 2014 and what impact this will have on car dealers and their ability to continue carrying out regulated consumer credit activities after this date. Back on July 15, the OFT and FCA wrote letters to existing consumer credit licence holders to advise them of the changes that are taking place and asking people to ‘act now’ to ensure that the activities listed on their licence are correct, along with their name, address and company information. The consequences of these details not being correct are that the licence holder risks operating illegally. Upon contacting car dealers, there has been an element of confusion (rest assured we felt the same way when we first became aware of these changes!) about which government body is which, what categories car dealers require, how they go about making amendments to their licence and, once this is completed, what they have to do next. Some car dealers have put the letters they have received on the ‘to do’ pile, as the complexity of what they are faced with can wait for another day, or possibly they do not seem to realise the importance of what they



have to do (which I fully understand and appreciate). Others have gone on to the OFT website and clicked on the consumer credit licensing section, selected the ‘change details’ option and then completed the variation application or notification form (depending on what they needed to change). Once the licence has been updated, or for those whose licence was correct anyway, car dealers can then register with the FCA for ‘interim permissions’, which will enable them to carry on supplying consumer credit to their customers after March 2014. What has worried us slightly so far is the lack of activity from some car dealers, where we believe they

‘The worst thing to do if you want to continue to offer finance is nothing’

should be moving now to change some of the details on their consumer credit licence by contacting the OFT ( before they even consider the next stage. We will continue to support car dealers nationwide, as First Response Finance appreciates that this can be confusing, and sometimes it’s nice to be able to ask somebody questions if you are unsure of what action is best to take. The worst thing you can do, particularly if you want to continue offering finance within your dealership post-March 2014, is nothing! If you are stuck, or want somebody to talk to, then please contact us and we will be happy to offer any advice or assistance.

Who is Jonathan Such? Such is regional sales manager for First Response Finance. You can contact him on 07917 781608 or email

Coming FEATURE next Skunk month Works cars

If there’s something you think we should be covering get in touch. Our details are on page three 114 |

Meet the craziest one-offs ever made | 115

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