NFDA members John Tordoff, CEO of JCT600, Daksh Gupta, CEO of Marshall Motor Group, and John O’Hanlon, CEO of Waylands Automotive, joined Car Dealer founder James Baggott to discuss the state of the automotive industry at CDX on Wednesday 12 June 2019.

With ‘volatile’ new car sales, Tordoff and Gupta said that the used car segment and the aftersales sector remain the two key areas where their businesses continue to perform well. O’Hanlon explained that the situation is different at Waylands thanks to the strong year of the only brand they sell, Volvo. Maximising every opportunity and building the Waylands brand, while working hard on used and aftersales, are key areas of focus, he added. Gupta also told the audience that Marshall is making efforts to reduce staff turnover represents for the business and recent activities have had a significant, positive impact.

The panellists agreed that diesel remain the fuel type of choice for many, however, there is a great degree of confusion amongst consumers. As a result, despite the very low NOx emissions of many new diesels, the negative publicity has been affecting all diesels, including the newest models.

Asked about their level of confidence in the future of automotive retail, dealers were fairly optimistic and, despite acknowledging the challenges ahead, they highlighted that there will be opportunities. There will be ‘profound changes’, said Gupta, but retailers will need to embrace the future and the clear opportunities coming with electric and connected cars.

Finally, discussing Brexit, Gupta stressed that the current delay is not helping and is causing confusion across all sectors. Echoing his views, O’Hanlon said that a solution is needed as soon as possible.