Does your MP know you?

  04 August 2014

It was hardly a headline to grab attention: ‘MPs are out of touch with the world of work’. But the release of some recent survey data by the IMI did reveal an interesting truth – our elected representatives are sadly ill informed about the modern auto retail industry.

Let’s start with the good stuff. Across all parties, more than 60% on MPs questioned admitted their young constituents were likely to consider a career at a car garage; that’s a sizeable proportion of voters.

However, not all the MPs actually knew many constituents who work in garages and around half thought working in garages was either ‘unskilled, low paid or dirty” work. The main attractions were seen as it being a local job for somebody with practical skills and an interest in cars.

I guess they don’t take their own cars in to be serviced but surely they must enjoy all the benefits of modern, hi-tech motoring. They’re about to vote on whether we get ‘driverless cars’ – for heaven’s sake!

And then I began to think, perhaps it’s not the MPs’ fault; perhaps it’s our fault. We know it’s not like this in the US. The auto retail industry (not the manufacturing industry) bombards legislators with facts and figures about how important car sales are to American employment and the economy.

When the auto industry was in danger of collapse, it was retailers who were invited before Congress to state their case. Most of those invitations came from their local Congressmen and women. Next year is election year and all the indications are it’s going to be close. Perhaps now is the time to get hold of your MP (and any potential rivals), remind them how much you invest in the local economy and how many young potential voters you employ.

Maybe even offer to service their car for free. But just make sure they come and see the business is not dirty, low-paid or unskilled.

Rupert Saunders

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