Auto Retail Agenda: 7 February 2022

  06 February 2022

Auto Retail Agenda


DS agency move on track for June 2023

DS Automobiles has just completed workshop seven of a nine-topic collaboration with retailers covering the switch from a franchised to an agency model, according to UK managing director Jules Tilstone.

Setting out the timeline for the move to agency agreements to Auto Retail Agenda, Mr Tilstone said the manufacturer and retailers across Europe had recently attend workshop seven in a series of nine. A spokesman for DS added the workshop meetings were “not a negotiation” and that despite being numbered were not being run in sequential order.

“We will move to agency on 1 June 2023,” said Mr Tilstone.

“We’re going through a process at the moment with European workshops within the network to see how it can work in various areas of the business.

“For example, we had the digital workshop yesterday, which was number seven of nine.

“These will finish and we’ll look at the output, then talk with the European dealer councils about what the agency agreement looks like. But we need to see the final Block Exemption Regulations that’s due in May.

“From there we’ll move to contracts which will be issued in the first half of 2023,” said Mr Tilstone.

Commenting on the retailer reaction to the move to agency, he added: “If we don’t offer the best retail model then we won’t attract the best dealers. We see no major barriers for new investors and all the existing dealers so far have said it’s probably the right decision for DS.”

Stellantis’ DS and Alfa Romeo brands are understood to be working together on the switch to agency agreements.

* The full interview with Jules Tilstone will be published in sister title Auto Retail Bulletin this week. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can sign up for a free trial here.


Emil Frey email hacker warning

Emil Frey, Europe’s largest retailer group, was the victim of a cyber attack last month. Now, the hacker group, called ‘Hive’, is threatening to publish the stolen data.

More than 220Mb of documents including customers’ personal data have already been published on a file-sharing website. Hive is planning to publish a further 300Gb of data.

Experts claim the retailer has been attacked with ransomware: criminals encrypt and steal data, only releasing it for a ransom. If they also threaten to publish the data, it is known as ‘double extortion’.

Emil Frey has already informed customers about the attack.

Closer to home, a serious ransomware cyber attack on KP Snacks could lead to supply issues until the end of March as the firm “cannot safely process orders or dispatch goods”. Again, hackers are threatening to release information in order to force KP to make a payment.


Vertu reveals new online learning platform

Vertu has invested in a bespoke online learning platform for colleagues, created in partnership with the Dale Carnegie Institute. It is understood to use the principles of Carnegie’s book, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’. Robert Forrester himself started the ‘Communicate Effectively’ module over the weekend “as I embark on the platform”.

Mr Forrester also revealed the Vauxhall Corsa, flipped by a farmer who was last week cleared by a jury, was a Vertu courtesy car. When asked if the company had to scrap it, Mr Forrester replied: “We did indeed.”


Read Motor Group opens eighth retailer

Read Motor Group has opened its eighth retailer. The Grimsby MG and Suzuki site is Read’s second complete newbuild. Read will hold an official launch weekend from 11 February. The new site will further boost turnover that’s already passed the £100 million milestone.




US to introduce ‘right to repair’ bill

US lawmakers are planning legislation to ensure vehicle owners and independent repairers have equal access to repair and maintenance tools as franchised dealerships. The Freedom to Repair Act aims to reform copyright law so it’s easier for consumers to get repairs.

Politicians say it will “end manufacturers’ monopoly on vehicle repair and maintenance and allow Americans the freedom to choose where to repair their vehicles”.


Global Peugeot targets EU top spot

In 2021, Peugeot was Europe’s second best-selling brand, behind Volkswagen. CEO Linda Jackson now has her sights on the number one spot – along with expanding globally and improving customer service. “We’re very strong on product and I want us to be very strong on customer experience, whether that’s dealerships, websites – all the customer touchpoints. That’s a real focus for us.”


Porsche triples online orders

Porsche received 5,800 online orders in 2021, three times as many as the previous year. 110,000 leads were generated through the Porsche website, up 60% on 2020; it has 1.1 million users a month. While in-stock vehicles are ordered online, retailers still handle the contract and delivery processes.




Closing prices on 4 February 2022 and weekly change

Lookers up another 10.6% after last week’s 22.6% rise.

Auto Trader Group 654.0p (+0.6p / +0.09%)

Caffyns 600.0p (+50.0p / +8.6%)

Halfords 308.4p (-16.8p / -5.3%)

Inchcape 836.0p (+3.5p / +0.4%)

Lookers 96.3p (+7.7p / +10.6%)

Marshall Motor Holdings 397.0p (n/c)

Motorpoint 296.0p (+8.0p / +2.7%)

Pendragon 22.7p (+0.8p / +3.5%)

Vertu 65.2p (-0.8p / -1.2%)




Monday, Halifax house Price Index

Wednesday, UK retail sales

Wednesday, Radius Law automotive law update conference: sign up here

Thursday, UK GDP




Middle classes to be hit by energy bills

Even middle-income families risk falling into energy bill arrears as estimates suggest 8.5 million will struggle to pay the £60 a month increase. The energy price cap rises to £1,971 from April and middle-income families don’t qualify for government support such as the Warm Home Discount Scheme. Citizens Advice suggests 1 in 10 have already fallen behind on energy bills.


‘Worst to come’ for food prices

Tesco chairman John Allan has told the BBC “the worst is yet to come” for rising food prices. Average spending on food was around 9% of household income in 2021, but could rise to 15% by the spring, he said. For lower income households, the proportion is higher still. The fact some on tight budgets are having to choose between food and heating “troubles us,” said Mr Allan.



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