Auto Retail Agenda: 27 August 2018

  27 August 2018


Currie Motors boost profits

Growing demand for hybrids as drivers switch from diesel helped Toyota and Lexus retailer Currie Motors to a second consecutive year of strong growth.

Filing its accounts to the year ended April 30, 2018, the company reported operating profits from its retailing and car rental business of £1.5 million, up 8% on 2017’s figures.

In its strategic report, the directors said: “Operating profit is up, driven by an increase in new car sales. This is due to the increased desirability of Toyota’s Hybrid technology as environmentally concerned consumers move away from diesel vehicles.”

During the year it closed the SEAT operation at Barnet as the group found an alternative use for the site and in February opened an extra car rental outlet at Waltham Abbey.

Century for Hendy `25 year Club’

More than 100 members of staff at the Hendy Group have reached their quarter century working there with seven more employees joining its `25 Year Club’.

To mark the occasion Hendy took club members on a day trip to the Isle of Wight followed by an awards evening and overnight stay at the five star Southampton Harbour Hotel.

Paul Hendy, chief executive, said: “It was a great opportunity to celebrate long service from our employees and this was our way of saying thank you for their hard work, dedication and loyalty to Hendy.”

Hendy Group has a high percentage of staff who have been there a decade or more and forecasts that 15% will have accrued 25 years or more by 2022.




Brindley Honda picks up Motability award

West Midlands retailer, Brindley Honda, has won a regional Dealer Award from Motability, part of a programme launched last year by the organisation to recognise and reward best practice among garages delivering the scheme.

The awards are judged by customer feedback and reviews of the retailer’s overall performance with Motability customers. All winners of the quarterly awards are automatically entered into the national finals where the overall winner will be announced in early 2019.

Peter Wilson, general manager, dealer Relations at Motability Operations, said: “It’s important for us to recognise our dealer partners who go above and beyond when representing the Motability Scheme and highlight those who are setting a great example of how to do it well, like Brindley Honda.”


Renault look to recapture some `va va voom’

Renault aims to kick some `va va voom’ into the brand again

Bastien Schupp, Renault’s vice president of brand strategy, said the company has lost it way in the UK and needs to rebuild awareness. A YouGov BrandIndex measuring various metrics including value, quality and reputation gave Renault a score of just 4.4, ranking it the 28th most popular car brand in terms of consumer perceptions out of 38.

This month it announced it is sponsoring Premier League coverage on Sky Sports and has brought back former Arsenal star, Thierry Henry, once known for his role in the famous `va va voom’ TV adverts, for a new campaign.

Schupp said: “In the UK, we need to work on our ‘premierlarity’ and Henry is one effort to come back to that historical audience and to actually get visibility with the new Renault range.”


EV values set to improve

EVs are set to lose their tag as being among the worst depreciators as they become more mainstream with fleets leading the change, says cap hpi.

Matthew Freeman, managing consultant at cap hpi consulting, said: “The depreciation of electric vehicles is set to stabilise as models become more mainstream. The next few years will see a wave of new vehicles hit the market, with almost every major manufacturer making significant investments in electric vehicles. Fleets will have a key role in managing the transition to BEVs regarding shifting consumer demand towards the technology, and a new skill-set will be needed to ensure that technology is distributed to the correct drivers.”





VW clean out

Volkswagen Group plans to fire a group of engineers and managers implicated in the automaker’s diesel emissions-cheating scandal, German press reports said.

Prosecutors in VW’s home state of Lower Saxony have targeted an `inner circle’ of 39 of the automaker’s employees in their investigation into the emissions cheating and a further wave of dismissals is expected.


Kalashnikov launches Tesla rival

Russian armaments maker, Kalashnikov, has unveiled a retro-looking EV it says is a rival to Tesla and has a single-charge range of 220 miles.

With styling inspired by a 1970’s Russian saloon, the CV-1 was described by Kalashnikov as a cutting edge `supercar’.


New Bugatti sells out

Bugatti sold all 40 of its new £4.5 million Divo hypercar based on its Chiron model as soon as it began showing the car to invited potential buyers.

Stefan Winkelmann, Bugatti President, said the cars were snapped up as soon as it revealed the 1,480 hp car to `a small group of selected Chiron customers.’

Top speed of the road legal car is limited to 236 mph



Closing prices at Friday August 24 and weekly movement.

BCA 238.5p (+9.0p)

Cambria 56.0p (no change)

Caffyns 425.0p (no change)

Inchcape 694.5 (-8.5p)

Lookers 107.2 (+0.2p)

Marshall Motor Holdings 161.5p (+5.5p)

Motorpoint 225.0p (no change)

Pendragon 24.9p (-1.6p)

Vertu 47.5p (-2.5p)


Volvo XC40. New T3 adds a 1.5 litre three cylinder engine. From £27,610


Paris Motor Show reveal of Skoda Kodiaq vRS performance SUV. Prices tbc





September 4

NFDA Midland Regional Meeting, Northampton.



The average worker takes home nearly £700 a year less now than before the credit crash a decade ago.  Unemployment is at a 40-year low of 1.36million but the Resolution Foundation think tank says on average those in work are earning £13 a week less than in 2008. 800,000 workers remain on zero-hours contracts.

Meanwhile wage data provider, XpertHR, said the average Q2 pay rise weakened for the first time in nearly two years with the median annual pay award falling to 2.3%.


What value do you put on your staff?

I’ve heard enough of WLTP and Brexit for a while so let’s think about something positive and pleasant instead – staff.

When valuing the assets of a dealership you count the physical stock and inventory of the showroom, forecourt and workshop, the property value if you own it, money in the bank and money due and that most intangible of all, goodwill. People say you can’t measure goodwill but surely it’s easy – measure the amount of repeat business.

Customers return for several reasons, for convenience and price but also because of trust. If the staff do the job right with a smile on their face you have more than half a chance of getting them back.

The more switched on companies see the value in nurturing, training and retaining their good staff who repay that investment tenfold and our trade seems to have a reasonable track record in this. Staff at a Motorpoint recently voted it the best place to work at in the North East, the Swansway Group is a regular in various `Best Employer’ surveys, we report this week on the Hendy Group’s appreciation of its loyal workers, RRG has a similar story and there are more like them.

I know of one multi-franchise operation with a staff of hundreds spread over more than dozen sites where the founder/MD knows many of them by name and of whom I heard the story that on one occasion he asked a service receptionist if her dog was now any better and another where he arranged for flowers to be sent to the mother of one the staff while she recuperated after an operation.

Employees should walk through fire for a boss like that and there must be a mutual benefit beyond just getting eight hours work a day for eight hours pay.

One hears a lot that it’s hard for businesses to attract quality staff. If that’s true and they are in a competitive market to recruit then look at what you offer staff outside of the basic job, pay and conditions and think about how they are treated and valued. If you have a high level of staff loyalty then the business is working well; it’s working especially well if that staff loyalty translates into customer loyalty too.

John Swift

Auto Retail Agenda




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