Auto Retail Agenda: 2 September 2019

  01 September 2019

Automotive leaders discuss Brexit with Government

Leaders from the retail and manufacturing sides of the automotive industry were among attendees of the latest Brexit round-table meetings held by business secretary Andrea Leadsom this week.

Daksh Gupta, chief executive of Marshall Motors, and Andy Palmer, chief executive of Aston Martin, met the business secretary at a meeting in London on Wednesday.

Speaking exclusively to Auto Retail Agenda about the meeting, Daksh Gupta said: “I don’t want to go into the specifics of who said what, as it’s not my place to do so. However, what I will say is that I took a few positives from the meeting.

“That it was happening in the first place was a good thing. It shows the Government is interested in business’s views. It also showed the secretary of state was very impressive and understood business and the economy. I’m sure her background in terms of an economics degree from Oxford and career in the City helps.

“She acknowledged that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit isn’t helping and can’t carry on and added the Government’s plan A was to secure a deal.

“From a personal perspective, it was a privilege to be invited to attend. Ahead of the meeting I spoke to several of our key manufacturer partners plus the NFDA and SMMT. I hope I did a good job of imparting the issues facing the industry at this time.

“I also gave a few suggestions including looking at how the apprenticeship levy was working and the introduction of a possible scrappage scheme. As was shown by the previous scheme, this could be self-funding and would be carbon reducing.”

A spokesman for Andy Palmer declined to comment on the content of the meeting.

Other businesses represented at the meeting included Rolls Royce, JCB, BASF, Tesco and National Grid.


LSH Auto reduces losses

LSH Auto UK more than halved its pre-tax loss in 2018 to £4.98m as the company continues investment in redeveloping its facilities. It will open the UK’s first flagship Mercedes-Benz Autohaus site in Stockport this week with a VIP event on 5 September. Turnover for LSH Auto was static at £446m in 2018.

The 2018 loss was described as a “satisfactory performance”. New and used car sales were slightly down on 2017 but used car profitability was “vastly improved following reduced used car stocking levels”. Managing director Martyn Webb has previously stated a target of reaching profitability by 2020.


Autonomous cars will not reduce demand

Autonomous cars will be so intensively used, they will only have a four-year lifespan, believes Ford Autonomous Vehicles operations chief John Rich. It means their arrival will not lead to a fall in demand for new cars, he told The Telegraph.

“The thing that worries me least in this world is decreasing demand for cars. We will exhaust and crush a car every four years in this business.”


Louise Woods leaves NFDA role

NFDA business co-ordinator Louise Woods who has worked for the organisation for the past 22 years is moving to a new role in sister organisation the RMIF where she will become projects officer for the finance director.

Ms Woods, who is highly respected and well known within the industry, said she was looking forward to her new job and moving back to the RMI where she started her career 29 years ago.




Toyota and Suzuki deepen ties

Toyota has invested JPY 96bn(£740m) to take a 4.94% stake in Suzuki. In turn, Suzuki will buy Toyota shares to the eqiuvalent of JPY 48bn (£370m). The companies began exploring a partnership in October 2016.


Tesla car insurance

Tesla has launched its own car insurance in California. Savings of up to 30 percent are claimed, which reflect the vehicles’ ‘active safety and advanced driver assistance features’.



Closing prices on 30 August 2019 and weekly movement

Lookers’ August recovery lost momentum in the final week of the month despite further investment from non-exec Tony Bramall.

Auto Trader Group 531.6p (+6.6p)BCA 241.6p (n/c)

Cambria 53.0p (-2.5p)

Caffyns 375.0p (-15.0p)

Inchcape 578.0p (+5.0p)

Lookers 46.6p (-4.9p)

Marshall Motor Holdings 145.0p (+2.5p)

Motorpoint 247.0p (+6.0p)

Pendragon 10.2p (-0.5p)

Vertu 33.6p (-0.3p)




Vauxhall Astra, mid-life facelift with all-new RDE2-compliant engines and infotainment. On sale now from £18,885

Peugeot 3008 GT Hybrid4, 300hp plug-in hybrid with 29g/km CO2, 36-mile EV range. On sale later in 2019

Seat Tarraco FR PHEV, large SUV plug-in hybrid with sub-50g/km CO2 and EV range of over 31 miles; ordering opens 2020

Mercedes-AMG GLB 35 4Matic, seven-seat compact SUV with 306hp, all-wheel drive and extensive AMG styling



Monday, NFDA dealer attitude survey

Wednesday, Chancellor’s Autumn Spending Review

Thursday, SMMT new car registration figures




BEIS ‘Brexit fund’

Business secretary Andrea Leadsom has announced a £10m Business Readiness Fund, aimed at “businesses that still feel unprepared” for a no-deal Brexit. It will support events and training, and produce advice packs. Any activities it funds must be open to all businesses. Grants are for £25,000 and over.

Apply for a grant from the Business Readiness Fund


Cazoo secures further investment

Online used car start-up Cazoo has raised another £25m, taking pre-launch investment up to £55m, reports The Sunday Times. Led by Zoopla and Lovefilm founder Alex Chesterman, it is being described as one of Britain’s best-funded start-ups.

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