Could airfields make more money than showrooms?

  07 October 2018

Right now I reckon there is probably more money to be made from letting airfields so manufacturers can store tens of thousands of (currently) unwanted cars on them than there is selling the metal.

The industry has been blindsided by WLTP and under the rules of derogation allowing them to have up to 10% of their annual sales beyond the September 1 cut-off date but to be sold within a year, there are now virtually 180,000 (179,425 at the time of going to press) cars built under the old emissions testing protocol awaiting new owners.

Except who is going to buy them? Would you, would one of your customers enquiring about a new car but declining the offer of one that is indeed unregistered but certified under the old and discredited system? Even less so when these cars are probably not a hybrid or something for which there is a demand but a diesel.

Those of us in the car trade understand the situation but just wait until the more sensational end of the national press get hold of this story. You can already see the screaming headlines of `Car manufacturers and dealers still selling banned cars’ and such like.

Try selling one after that.

These will only move if they are given away and incentivised beyond belief but dumping so many cars at toxic prices will do few favours for residuals as they move into the used sector where buyers are not so fussy about how a car is certified.

It’s a mess, there is no other way of putting it and no amount of spin from industry PRs can alter that.

And then you read our main story and discover that early next year the EU will unveil legislation fuelled by its determination to smash resistance from car manufacturers to fundamental cuts in emissions (and I’m completely with the EU on this) which will make WLTP look like a stroll in the park.

Enjoy the rest of your week.


John Swift


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