Auto Retail Agenda: 9 March 2020

  08 March 2020




Vauxhall promises profit lift for dealers in 2021

Vauxhall expects retailer profitability to remain broadly flat in 2020, but is promising a rise in return-on-sales figures in 2021 after the network reorganisation started in 2018 has been completed.

Speaking exclusively to Auto Retail Agenda, James Taylor, sales director, said: “In terms of year-on-year profitability, net worth profitability is broadly flat. And that’s almost the same for the last two years, to be fair. It’s partly in terms of the network changing.”

This timeline is running behind Vauxhall’s initial expectations. Managing director Stephen Norman had promised a network average RoS figure of around 1% for 2019. However, the figure was actually 0.4%.

Mr Taylor added: “I think it’s going to be 2021 when we can really start to make the strides forward. We will have had the network consolidation pretty much done then. And I think that will be a year where hopefully we can get to the returns that Steve [Norman] outlined.”

* Read the full interview with James Taylor in sister publication Auto Retail Bulletin. If you’re not already a subscriber, sign up for a free trial here.


Arnold Clark plans for Starbucks, Ionity EV chargers

Arnold Clark wants to open a drive-thru Starbucks and Ionity high-speed electric vehicle charging points on land next to its Stafford site. The planning application describes plans as making better use of an area currently used for car storage and display.

Ionity is owned by BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen Group: more than a dozen 350kW EV charging points would be installed. Around 15 new jobs would be created at the site next to the A34.


Lookers wins Audi award

Lookers Audi has been honoured by the brand for a successful 2019. Audi UK director Andrew Doyle last week presented the Audi UK Divisional Investor Award to Lookers Audi Farnborough franchise director Paul Liddell, and the Area 7 Performance award to Guildford Audi head of business Paul Harrup. Mr Doyle said it was a pleasure to personally hand over the awards “and most importantly thank the teams for their outstanding performance in 2019”.


Car dealer to close after planning permission fail

A West Midlands used car dealer which opened in August 2019 is expected to close after failing to win retrospective planning permission. Car Cart took over a site previously used as a toilet storage area and a builder’s yard. It is located near two junior schools. Councillors rejected the planning permission on safety grounds, despite assurances of traffic management plans. “It was a disaster waiting to happen,” said one councillor.




Ford cuts cost-per-lead 80% with Facebook

Ford of Norway claims to have cut its cost per test drive lead by 80% in a lead gen campaign with Facebook. Working with Mindshare, a Facebook lead ads campaign with API integration was developed. Leads were automatically sent to retailers by integration with the Ford CRM database. Pre-filled forms used information people had already shared with Facebook enabled one-click sign-ups.

The campaign generated the same number of test drive leads in 90 days as traditional methods achieved during all of 2018.


New BMW logo not for retailer sites

BMW has no plans to switch retailer sites over to its new ‘flat’ two-dimensional logo revealed last week on its Concept i4 electric car. The new logo is only for online and offline media communications; it will also not replace the current roundel on BMW vehicles. Last year, Volkswagen revealed a new 2D logo and retailers are obliged to replace their outdoor signage. The revised Volkswagen Up is the first UK vehicle to feature the new logo.




Closing prices on 6 March 2020 and weekly change

Auto Trader drops to five-month low

Auto Trader Group 495.4p (-24.2p)

Cambria 65.0p (-1.0p)

Caffyns 400.0p (n/c)

Halfords 131.6p (-18.4p)

Inchcape 583.5p (+6.5p)

Lookers 35.9p (-9.35p)

Marshall Motor Holdings 151.0p (-6.0p)

Motorpoint 295.0p (-9.0p)

Pendragon 11.84p (-0.16p)

Vertu 30.4p (-1.3p)




Fiat 500 electric, all-new model has a range of up to 199 miles, ordering now open for top-line La Prima, costing £29,000. Existing Fiat 500 petrol remains on sale alongside new pure electric range

Audi A3 Sportback, new version on sale now from £24,900, first deliveries May. Fully digital cabin and two launch engines: 1.5 TFSI 150 and 2.0 TDI 150 S tronic

Volkswagen Golf, R-Line variants (from £26,140) and eTSI mild hybrid (promising up to 10% better economy than outgoing TSI) now open for ordering



Monday, NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey

Tuesday, Marshall results

Wednesday, Lookers results

Wednesday, 2020 Budget

Wednesday, UK GDP

20 March, Auto Retail Live Profit Briefing: optimising opportunities in a turbulent climate

2 April, The Future of F&I in Auto Retail




Sick pay switch expected in 2020 Budget

Statutory sick pay will be available from day one, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce in his Wednesday Budget in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Loan guarantees for short-term disruption to sales are also expected.

If the impact on the economy worsened, the Chancellor should consider a temporary cut in VAT, as during the financial crisis, says think tank Resolution Foundation. There is speculation of an emergency cut in interest rates ahead of the Bank of England’s MPC meeting on 26 March.


FCA climate impact disclosure plans

Consultation opened Friday on new FCA proposals requiring listed companies (including most FTSE companies) to meet tough new climate standards. These are expected to draw from the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), a standard set of climate disclosure rules. Experts say the FCA proposals, for which final rules are expected by the end of 2020, is part of an increasing trend for ‘zero tolerance’ around climate non-disclosure.


BLOG: Trading guidance on used cars


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