Auto Retail Agenda: 16 November 2020
15 November 2020
- LOOKERS NEXT WITH POLESTAR STORE
- ENQUIRIES NEAR USUAL IN LOCKDOWN 2.0
- DIGITAL RESERVATION TOOL LAUNCHED
- MANGOLETSI IN SECOND RETROSPECTIVE PLANNING APPLICATION
- PORSCHE RETAILER TO BECOME RETIREMENT HOME
- GM LAUNCHES RHD VEHICLES IN AUSTRALIA
- US RETAILERS WELCOME ‘NEW NORMAL’
- STOCKWATCH – Strong Inchcape performance continues
- COMING UP – Halfords interims
- VOLKSWAGEN FORECASTS ‘MODERATE GROWTH’
- RETAILERS EMBRACE CLICK & COLLECT
Lookers next with Polestar store
Lookers is set to become the next retailer to open a Polestar store. The troubled retailer is currently advertising for staff to work in its soon to be completed Manchester store in the city’s Trafford Centre, Auto Retail Agenda sources confirmed.
The news comes in the same week Lookers announced it plans to recruit 180 new apprentices across the group and five months after it announced it would be making 1,500 staff redundant.
Lookers shares remain suspended from the London Stock Exchange following delays in issuing its results. However, the group has said it expects to issue these results this month.
Enquiry levels near usual in lockdown 2.0
Mid-month customer data from enquiry specialist Rapid RTC shows that enquiries from consumers per retailer per day are on a par with November 2019.
“While these levels are down 19% from October, so far this month-to-date, November form-based enquiries are 85% higher than they were in April – the lowest point of the year. Following the announcement in early May that automotive retailers in England would re-open in June, we saw a significant increase in enquiry levels, which peaked in June as part of pent-up demand. At this time, November enquiry levels are 41% below that highest point from June,” said a Rapid RTC spokesman.
Digital reservation tool launched
MotoNovo Finance has introduced a new digital reservation tool – and is offering it free to retailers until the end of February. It allows customers to pay a reservation fee and remove the vehicle from sale – which CEO Mark Standish expects to turn “the significant levels of out-of-hours buyer interest that we know exists into a solid sale”.
Mangoletsi in second retrospective planning application
Allostock Parish Council has received a second retrospective planning application from Mangoletsi Alfa Romeo, for two illuminated and four standard signs installed in 2017. The company last month received retrospective planning for an extension erected in 2014. Mangoletsi, the UK’s oldest Alfa Romeo retailer, is now awaiting a decision.
Porsche retailer to become retirement home
The former site of Parker and Parker Porsche in Kendal may be redeveloped into assisted living retirement accommodation. Developers McCarthy and Stone said the location of the site meets a local need for downsizing and reduces the need to build on greenfield sites.
Work on Parker and Parker’s new South Lakes Porsche Centre in Carnforth, originally announced in 2018, began in July after the business outgrew its original Longpool site.
GM launches RHD vehicles in Australia
GM has established a new General Motors Speciality Vehicles network in Australia and New Zealand to sell right-hand drive versions of its North American full-size trucks – and, from late 2021, the C8 Corvette sports car. Walkinshaw Automotive Group is converting the vehicles to right-hand drive. GM announced at the start of 2020 that it was to pull its Holden brand from Australia and NZ by the end of next year.
US retailers welcome ‘new normal’
A shortage of new car supply has led to US retailers carrying lower levels of inventory – and many are welcoming the ‘new normal’. Last year, Ken Thomas, from Northland Oak Park in Detroit, had 110 days-supply inventory. “Right now, I have 50-60 days-supply, which as long as I have the right mix, that’s actually not a bad thing.” Savings include lower maintenance, insurance, overhead and floorplan costs.
Closing prices on 13 November 2020 and weekly change
Strong Inchcape performance continues
Auto Trader Group 562.6p (-18.4p / -3.1%)
Cambria 58.0p (+3.0p / +5.3%)
Caffyns 270.0p (n/c)
Halfords 242.0p (+11.0p / +4.6%)
Inchcape 617.5p (+51.5p / +8.7%)
Lookers Shares suspended at 21.0p
Marshall Motor Holdings 136.5p (+4.0p / +2.9%)
Wednesday, Halfords interims
Wednesday, CPI and RPI
Volkswagen forecasts ‘moderate growth’
Volkswagen Group expects the global economy to grow “moderately” over the next five years, albeit with regional differences. The forecast was made during the company’s latest supervisory board meeting.
The group is also seeking productivity improvements of 30% and further savings in administration. It will reduce complexity and increase efficiency of the product portfolio by streamlining “model variants, engine-transmission combinations and features that are less in demand”.
Retailers embrace click & collect
Auto Trader has reported more than 7,000 retailers have listed stock as available via click & collect or home delivery, one week on from the launch of the ‘Buy Online’ hub. This represents 70% of all stock currently advertised on the platform. “The speed at which retailers have adapted to offer buy online options has been incredibly impressive and testament to retailers’ ability and commitment to adapt to the rapidly changing market,” said Auto Trader’s Karolina Edward-Smajda.