Auto Retail Agenda: 7 September 2020

  06 September 2020

Auto Retail Agenda



Marshall’s new senior appointments to support growth

Marshall Motor Holdings has appointed four new executives to continue its growth strategy. Former Chrysler Jeep MD Simon Elliot joins from Vertu after just a year in the role of commercial vehicle director: he takes on a similar position at Marshall, “specifically to grow the group’s commercial vehicle exposure, footprint and channels to market”.

Adrian Wallington rejoins as commercial development director from the MD role at Endeavour Automotive. He will lead a number of strategic projects to support the group and unlock further growth opportunities.

Carol Illing also rejoins Marshall, where she worked for 11 years before joining Howes Percival LLP. She will help Marshall with “the many complexities involved in scaling a business”.

Matt Willmott joins as head of group legal from Marshall’s legal advisors Denton LLP. He has acted for the group since 2015, including its 2015 IPO.

“These high calibre individuals have been added to support the future growth aspirations of the business, support our outstanding management teams and enhance our existing operations,” said CEO Daksh Gupta.



Carwow ‘generated 7% of August sales’

Carwow head of OEM Sepi Arani claims the car comparison website delivered leads that generated just over 7% of all UK new car sales in August. He said reported sales were up 43.5% in June and 39.9% in July, indicating a “growth in appetite from consumers seeking a single, one stop platform for reviews, pricing and enquiries”.


August sales up in NI, Scotland, Wales

Although overall UK new car registrations fell in August, the bounceback in Northern Ireland continued with growth of nearly 7% last month (with the most popular new car being the Hyundai Tucson). This followed a 17% boost in July. Registrations also increased in Scotland and Wales: it was the decline in England that led to the overall year-on-year fall.


Inchcape Swindon thief jailed

A man has been jailed for 20 months for stealing parts from a rare Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport at Inchcape Swindon. He had been offered £400 to join two other men in the break-in and hour-long strip-down. They stole parts worth £21k including the seats, carpets and centre console. The man was caught from DNA testing of blood found at the scene.


GDPR motoring offence fears ‘overblown’

GDPR is proving not as disruptive as initially feared in dealing with drivers who have committed a motoring offence in a courtesy car or during a test drive. MILS Solicitors says the request for a driver’s details with a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) is exempt from GDPR as it is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation.

MILS also reminded retailers to ensure the recording of driver details is robust. Courts set a high bar for companies when considering whether a failure to keep a record was reasonable: failures are “likely to result in a larger fine and more points, and can result in personal and company liability”.




BMW US cuts

BMW is blaming a business slowdown for job cuts in North America. In a letter to retailers, CEO Bernhard Kuhnt said the operating cuts will result in changes to the dealer-facing organisation. 125 jobs will go, which represents less than 10% of BMW North America’s non-manufacturing payroll (there will be no job cuts in the US manufacturing division). BMW H1 sales were down 28%, and nearly 40% in Q2.

Last week, Auto Retail Agenda reported how US sales are predicted to be down 22% in 2020.


Renault Alpine F1 switch secures brand

Renault has signalled its commitment to the Alpine sports car brand by renaming the Renault F1 programme Alpine F1 for 2021. The team will race in new blue, white and red colours rather than black and yellow. One analyst said it suggested Renault considered F1 an environmental PR liability: as the production fleet moves to fully electric vehicles, only enthusiast brands such as Alpine will remain petrol powered, which “could be an early warning sign for F1 itself”.





Closing prices on 4 September 2020 and weekly change

Pendragon rises 12% on trading update

Auto Trader Group 563.2p (-22.2p / -4.0%)

Cambria 51.0p (n/c)

Caffyns 270.0p (n/c)

Halfords 165.0p 174.2p (+10.2p / +5.4%)

Inchcape 505.5p (-38.8p / -7.9%)

Lookers Shares suspended at 21.0p

Marshall Motor Holdings 127.5p (n/c)

Motorpoint 271.0p 266.0p (-5.0p / -1.8%)

Pendragon 7.7p (+1.0p / +12.1%)

Vertu 24.0 (+1.0p / +4.0%)




Monday, NFDA Dealer Attitude survey

Tuesday, UK retail sales

Friday, UK GDP



Targeted furlough extension moted

Industry groups are calling for an extension to the furlough scheme. Industries hit hardest by Covid-19 should be given access to more targeted help to stake off significant job losses. Conservative MP Justin Knight said “there is growing momentum for it for those industries that simply can’t exist under social distancing”.


Van demand and prices surging

Ford of Britain MD Andy Barratt says “phenomenal” growth in home delivery is leading to “stratospherically high” used prices of commercial vehicles sold through auction. A nine-month-old Ford Transit recently sold for more than 25% its trade value at auction. Internet sales made up 28.1% of total retail sales in July, compared to 19% a year earlier. UK boss of delivery company DPD, Dwain McDonald, revealed business is still 40%-50% higher than pre-Covid levels, despite shops reopening.



Start your free 14 day trial

Get free access to our Bulletin, Agenda & Profit for 14 days.

After 14 days we will auto bill your credit or debit card unless the order is cancelled.

    As an auto retail executive you need insightful and unique industry intelligence to boost your business potential. Here’s a taste of what Auto Retail Network has to offer:

    • Get informed and boost your business potential
    • More than 1,200 fellow executives have joined us
      since launch
    • Independent, carefully crafted, unique content relevant to you and your business
    • Develop a greater awareness of market trends and opportunities
    • Access to a wide range of materials whenever, wherever and however you want it
    • Significant discounts on ARN events, reports and
      other publications