Auto Retail Agenda: 12 February 2024

  11 February 2024

Auto Retail Agenda

Cazoo seeks cash lifeline

Cazoo is facing a funding crisis and must persuade shareholders to agree to an urgent cash injection – and is understood to be preparing contingency measures including new investors, a sale or beak-up of the company, and asset sales.

If fresh funds can’t be found, it will be forced to consider administration. The Telegraph reports a team of restructuring and insolvency experts is being called in to navigate the crisis.

In December, Cazoo revealed it could run out of capital by the middle of the year. It said it was burning through £30m to £40m every quarter and lending agreements obliged it to maintain a cash cushion of £50m.

A Cazoo spokesman told The Telegraph: “Cazoo does not comment on market rumours but… as we have made clear in our SEC filings, we have commenced an evaluation of potential partnerships, synergies, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and sales in the light of our improved capital structure.”


Nissan plans range simulator for EV advertising

Nissan is planning a mileage simulator to provide EV buyers with a more accurate range figure than the official WLTP measurement to help improve electric car sales.

The move follows a recent crackdown by the Advertising Standards Authority which saw Kia and Mercedes told not to repeat adverts for electric cars that quoted the WLTP range.

The ASA stated WLTP was unrealistic in real-world conditions and that EV drivers don’t typically charge beyond 80% of battery capacity.

Nissan historically offered a range simulator for the electric Townstar van and is now planning to reintroduce one for the electric version of the new Interstar.

When questioned about how Nissan plans to advertise the range of the electric Interstar in light of the ASA’s rulings, European LCV product and marketing boss Andrew Limbert said: “The reason we’re using [WLTP] today as a messaging is we want to give confidence that shifting to electric is now possible. We need a common reference, and that common reference today is the WLTP figure.

“Looking ahead, our intention is to be able to put in front of the customers something that can assist them in a realistic kind of metric rather than a pie in the sky one.”


Skoda to double approved used cover from March

Skoda has told Auto Retail Network that it will launch a revised approved used car scheme in March with two years’ warranty and roadside cover – double the outgoing programme’s level.

Known as Skoda Plus Approved Used (the ‘Plus’ is new), it will also include an as-yet unspecified servicing element and available to customers who buy via PCP finance. The move brings Skoda’s scheme into line with Volkswagen and Seat’s equivalents, leaving Audi the only major VW Group brand with just a year’s warranty and roadside cover for its approved used cars.

In other OEM aftersales news, Kia extended its EV battery warranty to the industry-standard eight years on 1 January, having previously incorporated it in its standard seven-year vehicle warranty.


Motor finance firm in profit warning

Solihull-based S&U, which is behind motor finance division Advantage, has issued a profit warning due to “poor consumer confidence, continuing high interest rates, cost of living pressures and regulation”. Profit before tax will finish 10-15% below expectations of £38m.

The lender has received FCA approval for the appointment of Karl Werner as CEO at Advantage.





Hyundai Europe hit by ransomware attack

Hyundai Motor Europe, the firm’s European division headquartered in Frankfurt, has suffered a ‘Black Basta’ ransomware attack. The hackers said they had stolen 3TB of corporate data.

Hyundai earlier told BleepingComputer, which learned of the attack in early January, that it was simply “experiencing IT issues”. It has since confirmed it suffered a cyberattack.

A Hyundai retailer confirmed to Auto Retail Agenda that all UK systems are working.


Tesla nets $9bn from selling EV credits

Tesla banked $1.79bn in regulatory credit revenue last year. It takes the amount it’s made from selling EV credits to other carmakers needing help to meet emissions standards to almost $9bn since 2009.

With minimal incremental costs, the sales are virtually pure profit.




Closing prices on 9 February 2024 and weekly change

Auto Trader Group 712.8p (-19.2p / -2.6%)

Caffyns 480.0p (+30.0p / +6.4%)

Halfords 181.3p (+3.3p / +1.8%)

Inchcape 674.5p (-5.5p / -0.8%)

Motorpoint 104.0p (+0.5p / +0.4%)

Pendragon 34.9p (n/c)

Vertu 64.6p (-1.2p / -1.8%)




Tuesday, UK unemployment

Wednesday, CPI, PPI and RPI

Thursday, UK GDP

Friday, UK retail sales




Plug the pensions gap – with 5% employer contributions

4 in 5 people are not saving enough for their retirement, says the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PSLA). The Sunday Times has launched a ‘Plug the Pension Gap’ campaign to encourage the government to help workers save and avoid a looming pensions crisis.

Key points include increasing employer pension contributions to a minimum of 5% through auto-enrolment, and make employers continue pension contributions for staff on statutory maternity or parental pay.

A single person would need a pension pot of £460k to meet the PSLA’s ‘moderate’ retirement of £31,300 a year.


Labour to protect public sector from pensions tax?

Labour has hinted top public sector workers may be exempt from a reintroduction of the lifetime tax-free limit on pension contributors. Jeremy Hunt scrapped the £1m limit last year.



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