Auto Retail Agenda: 15 April 2019

  14 April 2019



SsangYong targets tie-up with volume retailers

SsangYong is targeting retailers with experience of volume brands as it seeks to boost its representation from 60 to 80 by the end of the year.

“In the main it’s people that have another franchise, and we try to be a very easy manufacturer to do business with, so therefore the cost of running us alongside another franchise is very low put the profit potential is very high,” said SsangYong UK managing director Nick Laird. He points to sharing sites where retailers already have franchises for the likes of Vauxhall, Ford, Citroen, Peugeot, Honda and Subaru.

“Quite often you’ll find it’ll be a retail dealer not a main dealer, where their facilities are larger than they need to support that other brand at the moment and they have a spare bit of showroom that fits fine with us and where the other manufacturer doesn’t see us as being overly a competitor,” Laird continued.


John Grose Group cuts parts sales

East Anglian retailer John Grose Group is pulling back from selling parts for older used cars, saying manufacturer changes make it a less attractive business for franchised retailers.

Publishing its accounts for the year ended 31 December, 2018, which showed lower pre-tax profits of £1.6 million on group turnover of £166m, the strategic report noted: “Competition in the aftersales side of the business between franchised and non-franchised service outlets continues to be fuelled by aggressive pricing in the wholesale parts distribution by manufacturers and non-OEM suppliers competing for the older vehicle parc.

“Both Ford and PSA continue to restructure their parts distribution models which make it less attractive for the franchised dealer and therefore a sector what we will reduce our activity.”



Prepare well and price sensibly to sell says BCA

Vendors need well prepared and sensibly priced stock to sell in the wholesale used car market, which is continuing to show strong demand but risks over-supply.

BCA’s latest Pulse report shows average values in March for fleet and lease, dealer part-ex and nearly-new vehicles all up from February.

Stuart Pearson, COO BCA UK Remarketing, said: “Demand continues in the market for accurately valued vehicles in the best condition and reflecting seasonal patterns, we’ve seen a lift in volume from both fleet/lease and dealer part-exchange sources.

“The seasonal run of public holidays over the Easter period and into May has the ability to put pressure on the market at a time where supply is typically plentiful. As ever, our advice is for vendors to be disciplined around the remarketing process with enhanced preparation, accurate descriptions, comprehensive documentation and, most importantly, realistic reserve setting ensuring that buyers remain actively engaged.”


Seat mulls new sales route

Seat is looking at a third way of retailing to cover its two remaining open points, both of which are in London.

Seat already operates two shopping centre stores as well as traditional franchised retailers but is now looking at new ways of covering London.

Speaking exclusively to Auto Retail Agenda, Seat managing director Richard Harrison said he would announce the plans toward the end of the year but remained tight -lipped about the idea.

However, he downplayed the possibility of a full online sales operation for the brand.



Mazda prepared to pay fines to protect retailers

Mazda is prepared to protect retailers’ profitability and pay EU fines for missing CO2 targets rather than scale back its best-selling SUVs, which make up more than half its Eurozone sales.

It has new engines planned and a full EV range next year but is unlikely to cut its average fleet emissions to 94.1 g/km by the 2021 cut-off and faces a fine of around £65 million.

Mazda CEO Akira Marumoto said: “We will have to balance the impact of possible CO2 penalties with our sales targets, but we also have to consider the sustainability of our dealer network.”



Alfa Romeo launches car-sharing platform

Alfa Romeo is launching its U-Go peer-to-peer car sharing platform in Italy in partnership with Leasys, the FCA Bank-owned rental company. It allows retail customers the chance to share and make money from their car.

Accessed online or through an app, owners can display their location and daily rate and users can arrange the collection, return and payment. A review facility aims to create a community of users.

Alfa plans a UK launch of the system in September.



Closing prices at 12 April and weekly movement

Gain for Inchcape

BCA 209.2p (+3.4p)

Cambria 58.5p (-3.0p)

Caffyns 395.0p (n/c)

Inchcape 602p (+26.0p)

Lookers 97.4p (+4.2p)

Marshall Motor Holdings 168.5p (-0.5p)

Motorpoint 187.5p (-2.0p)

Pendragon 26.0p (+1.0p)

Vertu 35.1p (n/cp)



Nissan X-Trail. Powertrain upgrade with new 1.7-litre diesel and 1.3-litre petrol, new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Prices tbc.

MG ZS Limited Edition. Restricted to 400 high-spec examples. From £14,995.


Wednesday: Consumer price inflation in March.

29 April:  Economic review, quarterly analysis of labour market issues and trends.

21 May: AGM Marshall Motor Holdings

23 May: AGM Inchcape



Property market stagnates

House hunters held back in March as the estate agency sector recorded its eighth consecutive month of slowing demand and the average selling time of 19 weeks the longest since 2017.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors revealed that new inquiries from buyers in every part of the country fell again last month and agents have a near record low number of properties to sell as the market stagnates.


Click here to read this week’s blog; is RDE the new WLTP?


John Swift


Auto Retail Agenda





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