Auto Retail Agenda: 20 April 2020

  19 April 2020

Auto Retail Agenda





NFDA issues online sales car delivery guidance

The NFDA has issued guidance for hygiene and social distancing when conducting online sales. A distance of at least two metres between people must be maintained at all times, which should be communicated to customers ahead of delivery. PPE equipment must be used.

Retailers are not prohibited from taking in part-exchanges but should consider remote inspection and valuation tools, and supply PPE for the appraiser including gloves, masks, seat covers and vehicle sanitiser. As the appraiser should only drive it unaccompanied, insurance policies must be checked beforehand.

Businesses should carry out continuous risk assessments, to highlight “where a particularly delivery or service may be too complicated to be provided safely”. They should at a minimum follow government guidance as part of general obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

While car showrooms must remain closed during lockdown, there is no absolute prohibition for online sales. Vehicle storage and distribution facilities are also exempted from closure, which indicates deliveries can take place, says the NFDA. Cazoo last week recommenced online deliveries with £250 discounts for NHS workers.

Read Robert Forrester’s guest blog on how auto retail can safely re-start car deliveries.




Coronavirus large business loans launch today

The Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) launches today (Monday 20 April). All viable businesses with turnovers of more than £45m can apply for support.

Those with turnovers between £45m and £250m can borrow up to £25m. Businesses with turnovers over £250m can borrow up to £50m. This includes businesses with turnovers of more than £500m, who were originally not eligible for the scheme.

The government support package totals £330bn, through loans and guarantees. It provides lenders with an 80% guarantee. Accredited lenders are listed on the British Business Bank website.

ASE’s Mike Jones welcomed the news but highlighted the ‘viable businesses’ aspect. “Given the number of times the word viable appears in the press release, I expect there to be significant budget and cashflow hurdles.”


Post-lockdown stock warning

Replacing vehicle stock post-lockdown will initially be difficult as the wholesale sector is virtually dormant, warns Cazana’s Rupert Pontin. The supply chain “will take weeks to get back up to speed”, placing greater importance on retailers’ current inventory.

Reassuringly, the firm’s data shows retail prices have actually increased since lockdown, which shows retailers have not engaged in a “retail price race to the bottom” in the face of adversity.


Dick Lovett, Premier Car Supermarket plans

Plans have been passed for new homes and student rooms on Dick Lovett BMW and Mini’s Bristol Road, Bath site. The retailer is moving to a new-build site in Melksham, Wiltshire. Premier Car Supermarket has also bought 3.55 acres in Kettering near to J8 of the A14 and A43. It will be the firm’s third site, alongside Derby and Leicester.



Coronavirus: auto industry round-up

Vertu’s Robert Forrester says website sessions “are getting perilously close to last year’s levels”… OEMs are restarting manufacturing lines with many EU plants reopening this week… a Michigan Chevrolet dealer is disinfecting local police cars free of charge using Transform automotive sanitiser spray… Heycar has introduced a ‘register interest’ button allowing retailers to keep in touch with potential customers until they’re able to transact again… Children of staff at Bristol St Motors Nissan Darlington have decorated an NV400 van in the showroom with pictures and messages of support for key workers… FG Barnes Group will donate £20 from every car sold during 2020 to four NHS Trusts across the South East.




Car dealers reopen in Germany

Auto retailers are reopening in Germany this week as the country begins to ease lockdown restrictions. Dealerships can reopen regardless of size, although Chancellor Merkel is recommending the use of face masks in shops.


US auto sales ‘essential service’

Revised US federal guidelines now list auto sales as an essential service. Those involved in automotive sales, distribution, repair and maintenance are now classed as essential workers.


Auto sales ‘not as bad as feared’

US auto sales fell 55% during the first 12 days of April – better than the 80% decline forecast by J.D. Power. “This reflects the demand is showing some resilience” said president Thomas King. Its full-year forecast is now 12.5 million to 14.5 million vehicles, compared to a pre-pandemic estimate of 16.5 million to 17 million.


Chrysalis Loyalty



Closing prices on 17 April 2020 and weekly change

Auto Trader Group 438.7p (+24.7p / +5.9%)

Cambria 36.5p (-1.5p / -3.9%)

Caffyns 280.0p (n/c)

Halfords 90.8p (-0.3p / -0.3%)

Inchcape 504.5p (+5.3p / +1.0%)

Lookers 21.3p (+1.2p / +5.9%)

Marshall Motor Holdings 102.5p (+16.5p / +19.1%)

Motorpoint 196.5p (-10.5p / -5.0%)

Pendragon 6.8p (-0.32p / -4.4%)

Vertu 21.6p (-0.4p / -1.8%)




Monday, Job Retention Scheme goes live 8am

Tuesday, UK unemployment rate

Wednesday, UK CPI, RPI, PPI

Thursday, Auto Retail Live; Business in numbers

Friday, FCA PPI final report issued 10am

Friday, ONS March retail sales




AGM rules eased

Closed AGMs with a minimum number of people present online or over the phone are now allowed while social distancing restrictions are in place. The FRC has eased quorate restrictions so nobody has to physically meet. Virtual meetings will not need to include full freedom for shareholders to participate; they will only be allowed to vote via proxy and submit digital questions.


‘Smishing’ text message scam warning

Businesses and consumers have been warned of a new text message scam called ‘smishing’. Texts impersonating banks or other trusted organisations are sent, offering financial help during coronavirus. They include a fake web link that tricks people into giving away financial and personal information. Consumers are advised not to click on any links within text messages.


GUEST BLOG by Robert Forrester: Delivery exit strategy


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