Auto Retail Agenda: 16 December 2019

  15 December 2019





Angela Shepherd ‘most senior woman in UK auto retail’

Angela Shepherd is now the most senior woman in UK automotive retail after being appointed to the newly-created CEO role at Mercedes-Benz Retail Group. Shepherd oversees 18 retailers in and around London, which have more than 1,500 employees.

Formerly network operations director, Shepherd has led the Mercedes-Benz franchise to first place in the Auto Retail Network Index for three years running. She joined the company as a graduate trainee in 1990 and took her first management position as head of franchising in 2000.

Previous MD of Mercedes-Benz Retail, Vittorio Braguglia, has stepped down from the UK but remains with Daimler AG. “He was carrying out two roles,” a spokesperson told Auto Retail Agenda. “He remains director of Own Retail Europe; the new CEO role has been created for Angela to lead UK operations.”

According to the Auto Retail Network Who’s Where in auto retail 2019 report, the only other female leader of a major retail group is Margaret Orton-Williams, chair of Williams Motor Company.


Pendragon’s Brian Small buys 400,000 shares

New Pendragon non-executive director Brian Small has purchased 400,000 shares in the company, a day after taking office as chairman of the audit committee on 10 December. A purchase price of 10.44p gave an aggregate total of £41,760.

Small, formerly CFO of FTSE 100 plc JD Sports, succeeds Richard Laxer and will serve on the nomination committee and renumeration committee.


Demand outstrips supply on EVs

Electric vehicle and hybrid demand is outstripping supply at a ratio of 16:1, according to data from Auto Trader.

Data from November shows that while only 0.5% of cars listed on Auto Trader are EVs or hybrids, 8% of buyers using a fuel-related search are looking for these cars. For petrol the figures are 52% of stock and 50% of search and diesel runs at 45% of stock and 42% of search.

Searches for pure EVs have been rising rapidly in the past 12 months and are up 73% year-on-year.


Cazana launches price flags

Automotive valuation and insight company Cazana has introduced price flags in its trade-facing Companion pricing tool.

Called the Price Position Indicator, it is described as a guide to how well a vehicle is priced. Flags are calculated using the Cazana Retail Market Valuation and the time on market.

There are three flags: ‘priced well’ is a green light, ‘consider review’ is for vehicles to keep an eye on, and ‘change price’ is for cars Cazana strongly recommends a price change to not become overage. The new tool is said to “keep your stock turn high as well as… avoiding a race to the bottom”.




European car dealer numbers need to halve

Changing consumer behaviours and online car sales means the number of auto retailers in Europe needs to halve in the medium term, according to the latest ICDP European Car Distribution Handbook. Retailer numbers have fallen 16% between 2009 and 2019 but this shrinkage is ‘far slower’ than necessary.


Seat’s de Meo to lead Renault?

Seat CEO Luca de Meo has reportedly been offered the CEO job at Renault, reports a Spanish newspaper. He will lead Renault for two years, then take over the alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi. He would replace interim CEO Clotilde Delbos who stepped in after former CEO Thierry Bollore was ousted in October. 52-year-old de Meo has led Seat for four years.




Closing prices on 13 December 2019 and weekly movement

Most stocks rose after Conservative victory in 2019 General Election, HSBC raises Auto Trader price target to 675p

Auto Trader Group 573.8p (+12.8p)

Cambria 68.0p (+2.0p)

Caffyns 400.0p (n/c)

Inchcape 688.5p (+7.5p)

Lookers 57.9p (+4.1p)

Marshall Motor Holdings 156.0p (+8.0p)

Motorpoint 283.0p (+6.0p)

Pendragon 12.00p (+0.98p)

Vertu 41.0p (-1.0p)




Mercedes-Benz GLA, all-new version of the firm’s smallest SUV is taller and more 4×4-like, launches spring 2020

Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid FWD, cheaper plug-in hybrid costs from £32,390, has a 34-mile EV range, arrives April 2020

Range Rover Velar R-Dynamic Black, based on best-selling D180 variant, priced from £56,995 or £499 a month, deliveries from early 2020



Tuesday, FCA and PSA to discuss £37bn merger

Wednesday, Final Euro NCAP results of 2019

Thursday, Queen’s Speech, MPC interest rate decision




FRC to tighten rules for company execs

Accounting regulator the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is to strengthen rules governing company boards, placing more responsibility onto directors. They would be required to regularly vouch for the integrity of their financial controls. Criminal proceedings against those who issue misleading statements to markets could also be possible.

The FRC is modelling the new rules on the US Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was introduced in 2002 after the collapse of Enron. Some FTSE 100 companies already follow Sarbanes-Oxley, reports The Sunday Times; a British version could increase costs for others.


Interest rates to be held, new BoE governor due

Interest rates are expected to be held at 0.75% when the Monetary Policy Committee reports its latest decision on Thursday. The Conservative election victory has raised the prospect of a smooth Brexit in January, making an interest rate cut less likely.

The Treasury is also expected to announce the next governor of the Bank of England. Dame Minouche Shafik is favourite to succeed Mark Carney, who steps down on 31 January. She is a former deputy governor and director of the London School of Economics. Dame Shafik would be the first female governor in the BoE’s 325-year history.



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